Have you ever seen the movie Being John Malkovich? The main character, Craig (played by John Cusack) has always wanted to be a famous puppeteer, but he “pushes the issues” in his street corner shows and can’t seem to get a break. Through a truly bizarre twist of fate, Craig discovers a portal that takes you into John Malkovich’s brain. Craig realizes this is the ultimate kind of puppetry – and John Malkovich the actor becomes a living breathing puppet.
At one point, Craig (as Malkovich) visits Malkovich’s agent. Craig makes Malkovich say, “I want to stop being an actor. I want to be a puppeteer.” The agent does not even hesitate. “Great, you’re a puppeteer. I’ll make some calls.”
I think about this scene often, even though it’s really pretty silly and even though it’s from a movie that’s on the stranger side of the spectrum. I think about people who are pretty done with what they are doing. For a lot of people, it seems like the feeling is, “I need to destroy what I have been doing to start fresh.” But the scene from Being John Malkovich makes me think there is an alternative. “John Malkovich” used his power as an actor to change careers rather than walking away from Hollywood altogether. Even though it’s fictional, I think there’s something to that notion.
For a real-world example, consider this very blog site. Now if you’re new here, you might not know this, but for the last two years, this blog was very different from the way it is now. It was pretty much all over the place, for one thing. It was mostly about social media, with some “musings” on marketing, current events, and other stuff. Throughout 2012 I’d been feeling sort of done with that approach. I wanted to have more of a focus and I wanted to talk about other stuff here. I had two options. I could just delete my site and start over or I could rebuild here, keeping some elements (like all of the writing I’ve done over the last two years) but changing the look and feel of the site. I didn’t have to take subscribers to a new URL I didn’t have to destroy my online identity. I simply rebuilt using things that were still in existence.
How can you apply this to your life? Perhaps you have a job you’re not super happy about. Are there ways to take what you are doing and revamp it so that you can feel more content? Are you in a relationship that is rocky? Instead of walking away from the person, are there parts of the relationship that are good that you can focus on and then go from there?
There is a picture that has been circulating around Facebook. It’s a picture of an older couple and it says, “People ask how we’ve stayed together for so long. We come from an era when if something was broken, you fixed it.” There are some things, of course, that are not fixable. But sometimes I think we give up a little too early these days. Sometimes I think we destroy because it can seem easier than rebuilding. What do you think?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/142079521/ via Creative Commons