Aight ya’ll let me set the scene…
I had just shot my magnum opus. I had spent two day’s filming the best thing I had ever done, two tiring ass days a lot of the time in the sun, carrying gear, shooting and re-shooting. But when I reviewed the footage I knew it was worth it, all that was left to do was edit then push this thing out to the world, and I was gonna be outta here (at least that’s what was gonna happen in my head).
I say was, because none of that is happening now…
I lost all the footage…
I could blame it on Mercury being in retrograde or whatever, but it was my fault. I know to always back up my data, and the one time I didn’t… this happened… and it feels like shit.
It’s hard for me to put into worlds exactly how i felt. Deflated maybe?
I don’t know, but just try and imagine doing 2 days of your best work and then it all disappeared and you knew there was no way to get it back.
I felt like giving up.
I was already feeling some type of way about things before this happened, because i felt like once again I was doing too many projects that I didn’t really want to do, which is not how I want to spend my life. I was already reconsidering my direction because I felt like I had hit too many dead ends, and this was the perfect occurrence to really set shit off… All that work for nothing. Because I knew better than to let this happen, I felt like a failure, because I really had failed, there was and still is no way of really redeeming this. And what’s worse this wasnt some projects i didn’t care about It was a passion project with some of my best ideas finally executed… But there would be no return on my investments of time and energy.
Thoughts crept into my mind of giving up on cinematography all together.
I once again had to ask myself the questions, is all this work worth it?! And why am I even doing this work? Why do I want this?
And this time I couldn’t give myself an answer…
So I give up…
or gave up…
for like a day…(had to get ya’ll reading somehow)
This post is just in case you also feel like giving up.
You may be wondering what changed after I couldn’t give myself an answer to stop me giving up. It’s not the usual positive spin that I usually try to give everything, sometimes that doesn’t work.
So today we’re gonna dip our toes in the shadow side and learn how to use it to our advantage.
Now without further ado what was the tool I used to save myself?
A lot of people like to pretend that regret isn’t a thing to them, and I get it, I do that spin too. “How can I regret what brought me here to this very wonderful moment?”
I’m talking about future regret here, I don’t know if that’s a real term but just roll with me for a second.
If you ask most people especially old people what they regret, it’s quite often the things they chose to do over some alternative, or the things that they altogether neglected to do. It’s more likely that people regret not trying at all over trying and failing.
So how do we use this regret to our advantage?
Consider your death.
Imagine you have lived out your life never again attempting that thing you had given up whatever it is. Really imagine that moment, really take yourself there. Close your eyes an imagine, perhaps you are dying of old age, perhaps you are drowning, but you really have to as much as possible really get yourself to remember that one day you will “die”.
How does it feel?
How does it feel knowing you never gave it everything you had?
Could you die in peace? or would you struggle clinging to life for the chance to try again?
Fortunately you are not actually dying, so if you wouldn’t be able to die in pace after giving up why not try again?
This particular exercise wont work super effectively for everyone but if you know yourself and your emotions well enough you can tweak it into something that will work for you.
This works well for me because I actually did almost drown and die as an adult, and the one of the big things that kept coming to my mind was that I wasn’t ever going to get to actualize so many of my ideas.
In this life we have so many options and possibilities that sometimes it doesn’t so important if you give up on something because you could always do something else, and sometimes it is good to leave somethings behind and move on.
But if when a sense of urgency arises (or is simulated), if you can feel it in your body that you will regret not giving it another go.
You owe it to yourself to consider giving up, on giving up.