20,000 Days on Earth
As an ardent Nick Cave fan I was of course enraptured by the behind-the-scenes expose the film provided. But it was the narrative accompanying one of the final scenes that had a transformative impact on me.
In his distinctive baritone, Cave mused:
“All of our days are numbered. We cannot afford to be idle. To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all, because the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it. Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world; a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame, great things can be constructed around it, that are massive and powerful and world changing… all held up by the tiniest of ideas.”
At the time, this was exactly what I needed to hear. Cave’s words electrified me, adding renewed impetus to my desire to finish the book, and rekindling a spark of courage and determination to see it through. This flash of motivation then helped me to reconnect with the core purpose of the book, the difference I hoped it might make, and how it needed to be further shaped.
Over the coming months I reworked the text so as to have much more of a personal voice, to reflect my passion for the subject, my personal experience of coaching, and to actually try to reflect the principles of coaching in how I engaged the reader. Having done this, I eventually got to a stage where I felt ready to submit the improved manuscript.
Three years on
Reflections on creativity
I’m reminded of these lessons at the moment, at the beginning of this new academic year, since I have a number of creative endeavours waiting ahead of me – writing a book chapter, writing a journal article, further shaping our company, and developing new services that aim to make a difference to schools and young people through the application of psychology. As I begin to approach each of these challenges, I am reminded of the importance of taking action and allowing ideas to emerge and be shaped, and being willing to accept that the process may not be entirely painless. Nonetheless, it will be better to act and learn than to not act at all.
So if you have a desire or need to create – be it in terms of a book, a journal article, a project, a blog, a website, a University thesis, or to experiment with new ways of working to try to make a difference to others – whatever it may be, I wish you well as you attempt to protect and nurture the flame and see the idea through to completion. Who knows where that endeavour may lead?
As Cave wisely notes, our days are finite and numbered.
What do you want to do with yours?