WANTED: Editor-in-Chief: For LIFE!

I was never even mediocre at either math or arithmetic. Hence, if this fails to add up, I am completely at home with it.

So the writer who breeds more words than she needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads ” – so said Dr. Seuss.

Every year at the Oscars, the award for Best Picture gets all the fanfare( this year, of course Will Smith had other ideas). That may be stating the obvious. What might be not so obvious is in contrast, the award for film editing flies under the radar. But you may be surprised by the correlation between these two awards.
Since 1981, only three films have won “Best Picture” without also being nominated for “Best Film Editing”.
Why is editing so crucial in filmmaking?
A good film editor removes distractions by eliminating trivial or irrelevant things. She uses deliberate subtraction to add life to the ideas, setting, plot, and characters.
The best films are exceptional not because of what we see but because of what we don’t see.
We can draw parallels here. And use the same principles to edit our own lives. We might be from Mars or Venus but on Mother Earth our never ending to-do list need not be a perennial match for our Herculean, Machiavellian competence and calibre that we seem to have been willy nilly blessed(cursed?) with. Probably there is a space to begin by ‘ separating the vital few from the trivial many ‘. The over ignored practice of essentialism.
Mind you, this is no easy task. To distill and rein in our incorrigibly elastic task list. How will we answer our ego? Or camouflage our insecurities? We find comfort in “keeping our options open”. But having too many options leaves us without direction. Having a few focused options gives our life a clear direction and makes decision-making easier.
Eventually, every cut ​we​ make brings joy. Maybe not in the moment, but soon ​we​ will realize the time ​we have​ gained can now be spent on something better.
​We, as people, ​systematically overlook subtractive changes, instead following ​our​ instincts to add. There is nothing inherently wrong with adding. But if it becomes a default path to improvement, that may be failing to consider a whole class of other opportunities​.
The paltry rate of subtraction in our ​life or ​organizational-improvement​ journey is appalling.​ To improve a redundant piece of writing, few produce an edit with fewer words. To improve a jam-packed travel itinerary, ​we hardly remove events or places to​ allow ​us​ to savor the ones that remained. To improve a Lego structure, ​we hardly take​ pieces away. Whether ​we​ ​a​re changing ideas, situations, or objects, the dominant tendency ​i​​s to do so by adding.
​In an increasingly attention starved​, attention craving economy, subtraction ​h​as a ​noticeability ​​​p​roblem​. When we add things, apparently it gets noticed. But when we subtract..we seem to miss the point.
Life has a way of taking over. We start running on auto-pilot especially when we are overwhelmed, in over our heads, or simply worn out from all that life is throwing our way. And this year, life is throwing more than ever our way.
After a while of trying to keep all the balls in the air, we stop paying attention and simply start reacting. Amidst all the chaos, we know something has to change, but we don’t know what or how.
When was the last time ‘ nurturing our heart and soul ‘ was part of our to-do list? It hardly make​s​ the list of things to take care of during the day. If ​we​ prioritize the nurturing of our heart and soul, by taking time to listen to what they want, by engaging in soul-soothing activities and by using them to guide our actions, ​we​ ​can​ get our life back. ​We​’ll remember who ​we​ are​(otherwise in the stage called life​,​ we are all practicing ‘ selective amnesia ‘)​ and begin to attract people and projects that are a perfect fit for the real ​us​.
S​o what is the take away? ​Yes, you guessed it, take away, to make way!
BEGINS

Die Empty!

Caveat Empty..sorry Caveat Emptor: The caption of this piece is inspired by Todd Henry‘s seminal book of the same name.

Look no further. The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is the cemetery. No, I am dead serious. And it is a matter of grave concern.

“ The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”- so said Les Brown. And what a telling commentary that is on the ‘ ground reality ‘ .

Most of us live with the stubborn idea that we’ll always have tomorrow. But sooner or later all of our tomorrows will run out. It is finite.

We have: One life to live. One life to die. One life to learn and practice what you have learnt. One life to learn multiple skills, arts, hobbies, sports…multiple professions. One life to experience joy in what you perform. One life to share, give, pass on, teach and donate so that you die empty but Rich every which way.

Look within. Let’s define it as WINtrospect(there is no such word in the dictionary, yet). There is a gold mine waiting to be explored. But, all that we seem to do is exchange ourselves for fear to trade on a silver platter. So busy short changing ourselves. As they say, ‘ ideas are plenty but ideas without action are regrets ‘. No need to die before we die. That is called living empty. If power dynamics were to come into play, go empty to the graveyard. Prepare to disappoint it.

Eckhart Tolle has beautifully articulated that the ‘ present is a present ‘ in his book, The Power of Now.

Could have‘, ‘might have‘, and ‘should have‘ must be classified in the ‘Must Not Have‘ category of life. So, instead of being afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. No calendar is going to tell you when to live your life. The  greatest loss is not from rejections and failures, but comes from what dies within us while we live.

Discovering your voice is rarely a linear path, but instead is the culmination of a lifelong process of observation, course correction, and risk-taking that eventually leads to the recognition of a valuable contribution.

You came to the earth with loads of inspiration and influence. Dare to offload them out of you before you die. Give out all you carry along into the world and when you are ready to go back, go empty handed!

So, do what lights you up! Day in, day out.

ENDS