Heroes, Villains, and Princesses

So I couldn’t resist. I bought Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith before the movie came out. Normally, I hate doing this. The last time I did this I loved the book and hated the movie which was a poor adapation of the novel. This is what typically happens. The book is usually well-written, but the movie falls short. I can only hope that the Episode III movie is just as good as the book.
The book got me thinking about the fairy tale aspect of the story. It describes the Clone Wars, in which Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi have become heroes to the Republic. They are idolized in every aspect and their exploits are legendary and larger than life. When there is a war to be won, they send Anakin and Obi-Wan and literally they save the day every time. Victory is assured no matter where they are.
And then there is Queen Amidala, the epitome of the leader and adored by all. She is respected by the Senate and works to the good of all.
Underlying everything is the evil Sith Lord named Darth Sidious and his minion Count Dooku. They are the villains of Episode III and they are treacherous, dark, destructive, and the antithesis of everything good.
The story touched a part of me that I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
When we were kids, we imagined ourselves being heroes and villains and fair princesses (like my daughter) and we played their roles with vivid imagination and energy. We would build castles, ply our swords, fling magic spells, attempt to kill the princess but then she would be rescued. The princess would be eternally grateful and the hero would marry her, the most beautiful and desirable woman in the kingdom.
Romanticism and imagination. What a powerful combination. Somehow I had lost that over the last decade.
I’ve gotten caught up on evaluation. And reaching goals. And making sure something was buildable. Or within the standards set by others. And if it didn’t fit, I tossed it. It became an auto-defense mechanism. A reflex. A habit.
I’ve also gotten worn down by life. By the meeting the expectations and demands of others. Of all these externalities. And trying to always please someone else. Letting externalities suck away all my energy and enthusiasm. When all that really mattered was what I thought and what goals I set for myself….
All these habits and behaviors close down your ability to dream. To look at the world with fresh eyes and not toss ideas – the ability to be creative. To be romantic. To touch the child-like part of ourselves again and tap the energy and enthusiasm of youth because that’s where creativity comes from – the rampant imagination that we see in our children but as adults somehow we’ve lost that.
I actually credit James Hong over at Hot or Not.com with making me realize what had happened to me.
It was at a Starbucks in San Francisco. We were talking about microbusinesses and how small sites built and managed by 1-2 people could make tons of cash with little effort. He talked about how they hired some Berkeley students as interns to go and just build stuff. No evaluation. No justification of headcount. Just find some cool idea, run with it, build it, launch it, and see what happens. It was the ulimate in creativity in product design. And the internet allows us to do this cheaply and easily. He also remarked that he hired these students because they have new and fresh ideas and that he liked the way they helped him and his partner think more creatively. He also talked a lot about how the fact that you just need to launch stuff and see what happens. Often the unexpected happens when there are tons of users’ creativity to draw upon. Sometimes they use your site for reasons you’ll never imagine.
At that moment, I just kicked myself. Over the last decade I had closed off so many parts of myself and it was a bad thing. I vowed to reopen those sides of me as soon as possible and just have fun with what I’m working on now – Technosexual.org.
But I also realized that it wasn’t just for startups and businesses that I wanted to do this opening up for. I wanted to tap this energy for ALL parts of my life, from relationships, to friendships, to hanging out with my child, to my training – EVERYTHING. Romanticism, imagination, creativity – they can all be applied just about anywhere.
What an incredible revelation!