saying yes to your dream: frank gehry + devotion

Even great artists sell out. Sometimes it happens post fame and fortune. Other times, as in the case of architect Frank Gehry, you sell your soul in the beginning of your career, on what you hope is your way up.

It’s better to sell out early, if only because time is merciful and you can blame so much on youth and learning curves. You have time to recover and re-invent. It’s exceedingly harder to redeem yourself once you’ve let your hit song be used for a burger commercial, or you’ve turned your personal touch into a factory franchise. So for all of you grinding gears in a day job while your heart is spinning bigger dreams, consider this:

One of Frank Gehry’s first buildings, was a shopping mall, The Santa Monica Place. It was rigidly geometric and pale pink. He played it safe for investors and went LA-style. He hated it.

Meanwhile, as a more direct and personal creative outlet, Gehry went full out “Gehry” on building his own home. Sloping roofs, curvaceous windows, jutting peaks. Wacky and wildly organic.

The night of the grand opening of the Santa Monica Place, the president of the real estate company that had hired Frank was at Gehry’s home for a dinner party.

Real estate Exec: What the hell is this?, he said to Frank, looking around Gehry’s house, awestruck.
Frank: Well, I was experimenting, you know, playing with it.
Exec: Well you must like it if it’s your house. You do like this, right?
Frank: Yeah. I’m happy with how it turned out.
Exec: So then…the building that you just did for us…the shopping mall…you can’t possibly like that.
Frank: You’re right, I don’t.
Exec: Then why’d you do it?
Frank: Because I need to make a living.

Pause.

Exec: Well stop it. Don’t do that kind of work anymore.
Frank: Yeah, you’re right.

They shook hands that night and decided to quit everything they were working on (they were employing forty people at the time.)

“It was like jumping off a cliff,” Gehry says. “It was an amazing feeling. I was so happy from then on.”

Devotion can be that easy.

The moment you say yes is the beginning. It’s not when you give your notice or when your novel is off the press. It’s when you say yes to the desire.

“Maybe” clogs up the dream machine.
Do you want a career that amazes even you? Then say yes. Do you want a love life brimming with adoration and the sweet stuff? Then say yes. If you start to tell me why it’s not possible or how bad you want it but you don’t know how to get it – then you don’t want it bad enough. Maybe isn’t going to cut it.

And if someone great calls you out on your own greatness, consider it a sacred moment. Those opportunities are precious. To have your ‘yes’ witnessed is magic-making.

Even after his big yes moment, there were failures for Frank. He was supposedly cash-strapped more than once. He bid on projects he never got. He had to can staff. He questioned is own judgment.

But he never did another building that he didn’t absolutely love creating.

Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack is one of my favourite documentaries. (The late) Pollack features in it and the interaction between the master director and master architect is inspiring and charming.

related posts
danielle-laporte-this-is-what-healing-looks-like-audio

This is what healing looks like—from cancer to politics, and our bleeding, blazing hearts.

Healing is as ugly as “healed” is gorgeous. If we don’t judge the mess of it, we’re more likely to get to the other side of it sooner—and more deeply healed and stronger than we ever imagined possible. Scars and all. Healed.

Danielle-Laporte-Guru-Singh

Cataclysmic Evolutionary Catalysts. (AKA: The times we live in). A guest appearance from Guru Singh.

For the first time ever on my site, I’m bringing you a guest feature. Because these times call for collaboration. And radical wisdom. So here it is: Guru Singh is a luminous and direct Truth teller. It’s an immense honour to share his insights—and prayerful plea. Please listen in.

danielle-laporte-conscious-gifts-2017-1

8 holiday gift ideas for friends & co-workers. Conscious, cool, and not-destined for landfills. And 6 ways to help #NoDAPL this season.

Here are a few pro-earth, pro-good taste, pro-kindness ideas for showing your love and appreciation this season: 8 conscious ways and things to give this season—to friends and your professional circle.

danielle-laporte-how-you-listen-is-how-you-live-featured-2x

How you listen is how you live. (A poem for being of service.)

You may hear this as an order, an invitation, or as the opportunity of lifetimes.

How you listen is how you live.
Can you hear the women crying?
Can you hear the soil gasping for clean air?
And did you hear that? That’s the sound of a good man asking, How can I serve?

How do you serve?

Danielle-Laporte-Gift-Transaction

So, is this a gift, or a transaction? Because…your entire life is not a business deal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transactional giving these days. I’ll tweet about you if you tweet about me. They owe me a favour. You listen for five minutes to them so they’ll listen when it’s your turn to talk. Even Stevens. Transactional giving can be a beautiful commerce of support, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that interplay. But if all of our giving is to secure our getting…then, well, it’s gross.

Danielle-Laporte-Love-the-egg-you're in

Love the egg you’re in. (This is not a sermon on patience. But…)

Savour the simplicity of your pre-dreams-come-true time. Love the egg you’re in. Because not too long from now–and right on time, you’ll be spreading your wings and life will never be the same again.

Rock your emptiness

Rock your emptiness

But what if we rocked our emptiness? Felt the perimeter of ourselves. Relished the silence. Made friends with the peace that’s always waiting for us. What if we got off on the discomfort of our emptiness and let it be creative tension?

Whats-Underneath-Wishful-thinking

What’s underneath wishful thinking?

Wishful thinking is tangled up with craving. We want what we want. So we ignore the evidence that we’re very likely not going to get what we want out of a situation. Craving… wishing. Craving… denial. Craving… tolerating. It’s a wishous cycle.

danielle-laporte-manifesto-for-creativity

Don’t worry about being invited back. My Manifesto for Creativity.

Meaningfulness. Reveal myself. Be compassionate. Don’t worry about being invited back. Go there. xo. I jotted this down when I began writing my book. I wanted a manifesto and it had to happen quickly because…I had a book to write.

danielle-laporte-life-is-what-happens-on-the-way-to-the-finish-line-featured-2x-456x456

Life is what happens on the way to the finish line.

If you’re not loving what it feels like between your various life destinations, then get off the ride. Burn the itinerary. Fuck “motivation” and be still long enough to find your inspiration.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This