Todd Henry wants us to Die Empty…and I’m in.
On my cross-country drive back from finishing our run of The Jungle Book at the Huntington Theatre in Boston back in 2013, I stumbled across a podcast that I immediately fell in love with: Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative. For someone like me, who is full of ideas but like many artists sometimes stumbles on the road to execution, his words were like manna from heaven. Here was specific advice on how to implement practical tools to encourage the flow of creativity and ideas in our lives while also being practical about execution and production. Since then, I’ve listened pretty religiously to Mr. Henry’s podcast, and recently I’ve finally gotten down to reading his newest book, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day.
I was filled with a renewed excitement as I’m working on my newest personal project (more on that soon) and came upon this passage, which hit me almost as if for the first time:
“Too many people want to come out of the gate with a clear understanding of their life’s mission. There is no one thing that you are wired to do, and there are many way you can add value to the world, while operating in your sweet spot. However, these opportunities will only become clear over time as you act. They will develop slowly like film in a darkroom, giving you clues as you experiment, fail, and succeed. You have to try different things, and devote yourself to developing your skills and intuition., before you will begin to see noticeable patterns and understand your unique value. Patience is required. This is a long-arc game, but it must begin now.”
How many of us wonder “What is my purpose?” or “Is what I’m doing what I’m really supposed to be doing?” and let those thoughts be the very thing that keeps us from action, or at the very least, committed action. But reading this passage today I saw a slight shift in the kaleidoscope that stunned me: no matter what you are doing, if you’re doing it with passion and intention and curiosity, it can only bring you closer to your purpose, to your “sweet spot” as Henry calls it. And as a result, as long as creating comes from those places, and with the urgency of knowing that our days on this planet are indeed limited, and that waiting until tomorrow to do your best work isn’t an option, you are always getting closer and closer to that purpose, that mission, that sweet spot…even if you don’t know what it is yet.
I’m sure I’ll write more on this as I delve deeper into the book. But for now, I encourage anyone who knows they want to create something extraordinary with their lives and the love and passion and talents they have to pick up this book and check out Todd Henry’s website at www.ToddHenry.com, listen to his killer podcast, and get on the track to Die Empty.