As previously blogged about (possibly ad nauseum, apologies – and this is unlikely to be the last time it’s mentioned, eek), 2013 sees me stepping outside my comfort zone and attempting to launch part-time self-employment. Whilst I have absolute conviction that this is the right thing to do, as with anything that takes you off the ‘safe’ path, there are sacrifices to be made and many opportunities to sack it off and return to the fold of familiarity
So, as temptations to give up lunge at me from all sides, like leering papier-mache monsters on a provincial ghost train, I find myself drawn to some quite bizarre and deceptively simple sources of comfort and fortitude. Firstly, a random quote from Star Wars is oft to be found playing on a loop in my head:
“Stay on target!”
This is the repeated entreaty that comes from Gold Five, one of Luke’s co-pilots, as they hurtle towards the centre of the Death Star in their whining spaceships. (NB I would like to clarify that I had to google the name of the minor-part spokesperson – I am not an uber-geek.) Enemy spacecraft flies in from behind, distracting them and chasing them down mercilessly, yet the pilot heroes ignore the irritants of hostile fire and plough on with their steadfast mission. On the days when it’s an effort to ignore the monsters of distraction lurking in the shadows, I find myself repeating that simple phrase in my head, with the same urgency as Luke and his friends. (I choose not to dwell on the fact that Gold Five’s craft ultimately gets blasted to smithereens before he reaches the target, doh.)
Another strange source of cinema motivation comes from the brilliant Pixar creation that is Dory from Finding Nemo, one of my favourite films ever. Her endearingly tuneless rendition of ‘Just keep swimming’ is a very adaptable phrase – I have used it in the past as a kind of inadvertent mantra in my head whilst training for half marathons (‘just keep running’) and whilst slogging up interminable hills on my mountain-bike (‘just keep pedaling’). And now it has simply become ‘just keep going’, repeated in my head whenever my determination falters and doubt creeps in.
My final source of inspiration that I’d like to share with you here (there are many more, which I shall save for another day), is George Monbiot’s website. I save this for the really dark days, when I need ‘extreme inspiration’. George Monbiot is a very political environmental activist and journalist, and he is not someone to mince his words or do anything by half. Therefore his advice is not for the faint-hearted: opinionated, uncompromising, some might say conspiracist and subversive… but it’s inspirationally fearless, and sometimes it’s exactly what you need to hear. If you head to his site and read ‘About George’ and ‘Careers Advice’ at the top of the page, you’ll see what I mean. I’ve included a couple of extracts below. Reading them gives me the courage to believe that taking the seemingly ‘unsafe’ route is in fact the safe route.
“Whenever you are faced with a choice between liberty and security, choose liberty. Otherwise you will end up with neither. People who sell their souls for the promise of a secure job and a secure salary are spat out as soon as they become dispensable. The more loyal to an institution you are, the more exploitable, and ultimately expendable, you become.”
“When faced with the choice between engaging with reality or engaging with what Erich Fromm calls the “necrophiliac” world of wealth and power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be. Your peers might at first look down on you: poor Nina, she’s twenty-six and she still doesn’t own a car. But those who have put wealth and power above life are living in the world of death… You know you have only one life. You know it is a precious, extraordinary, unrepeatable thing: the product of billions of years of serendipity and evolution. So why waste it by handing it over to the living dead?”
Of course, this may just be a way of appeasing myself about the fact that I am currently rather broke, as it’s impossible to deny all of the benefits of wealth, but hey – it’s working for me just now!