Toronto has gone Hollywood as it does each September, gripped by movie and movie star madness as the Toronto International Film Festival enters its second week.
Over the years I've loved going to the Toronto International Film Festival. And even though it's cool to play "spot the star" within the downtown core, the real stars are the actual movies.
And it's not just about the big name, big budget, and megastar-powered movies. It's about those tiny, non-descript, low-budget, breath-taking screenplays that are labours of love that somehow come to life after years of rejection, fuelled by determination, fortitude and a large dose of magic, as these little movies jostle for their moment in the sun at this important industry event.
Everyone knows that the film industry is not just all glitz and glamour. It's also an often soul-crushing multi-year slog to make anything happen, whether you're an actor, a director, a producer or part of the on-set crew.
And just like the rest of us, these film industry folks are always trying to make really big things happen for themselves. And by this I'm not just referring to the making-a-list-and-getting-things-done tactical everyday stuff.
So whether you're a director hustling to have your amazing indie movie made, or just a regular person like you and I hustling to get that great new job, big promotion or something else that really matters, what's the real secret behind making things happen for ourselves?
OK, read the following two sentences aloud, and see if you notice a difference between the two:
1. I really have to get this job...because I'm toast if I don't.
2. Wouldn't it be nice if I got this new job?
1. I really have to get this new client...or I might lose my job.
2. Wouldn't it be nice if I closed this new client?
Each of the first sentences uses the phrase "I really have to...." Do you notice the sense and tone of urgency, anxiety and perhaps even fear?
Now read each of the second sentences again. Notice the use of the phrase "wouldn't it be nice if..." How does that sound? What does adding that simple phrase do to the overall sense and tone of the same sentence?
What it all boils down to is commitment versus attachment. And understanding that powerful distinction, and how to successfully apply it to your life is the #1 secret to making things happen for you.
There's a subtle yet critical difference between the two that creates a strong ripple effect, both positive and negative.
In this context, commitment means being committed to an outcome as well as taking necessary, often imperfect, yet consistent actions to keep the momentum going in order to make things happen.
Attachment, on the other hand, means being attached, often rigidly, to a singular outcome and a singular result to the exclusion of everything and anything else.
Think about a time when you were really, really attached to an outcome or result. When you felt that it was the only possible result/solution/outcome that mattered or that you wanted. Remember how that felt? And did you get the result you wanted? And if you didn't (quite likely), how did that feel?
The bottom line is that when we are rigidly attached to something or a specific outcome, it doesn't allow for magic, ease or flow to take place.
And by magic, I mean the magic of life that happens when you stop holding on with a Kung fu grip, and instead let go and allow things to unfold as they need to.
When you are committed, you are focused on making things happen to the best of your abilities, but the key is that you let go and ease up trying to control the situation.
And suddenly it's in those moments that things just seem to flow with ease and synchronicity. When things just work and happen. And interestingly, either what you desire happens because you let go and allow it to unfold as it's meant to...or it doesn't happen the way you wanted, but instead another option/solution/outcome/result appears that is even better than what you wanted to begin with!
And those four magic little words "wouldn't it be nice if..." are the key.
The opposite of all of this is when you're attached to something, and holding on so tightly to the vision of what you desire that you give off a vibe of anxiety and stress that other people can sniff a mile away...often making them run a mile in the opposite direction. This certainly holds true in everyday life and I would hazard a guess that it holds true in the world of movie-making as well!
So, armed with your new-found, magical secret weapon, how are you now going to make things happen for yourself?