Every week I draw a tarot card to give me a lens to look through for the next seven days. This week I drew The Fool. Which is appropriate because, yet again, I am diving into a project that I foolishly thought was going to be much simpler than it is turning out to be. Despite my history with puppet-making and all the experience I’ve had with scriptwriting, video editing, and coaching, putting everything together is proving to be a challenge.
This is my happy place. I love the thrill of realizing that I don’t know as much as I thought I did and will need some just-in-time learning to make things work. My foolishness is what’s allowed me to do some really amazing things because I didn’t have all the information I needed at the time to make an informed decision. Instead, I had to rely on my own creativity, the generosity of others, and some good ol’ blood, sweat, and tears to pull me through.
On more than one occasion, I’ve given thanks for my foolishness. I am grateful for the ways that it’s allowed me to say yes to opportunities before I felt ready. Being a fool has taught me to turn mistakes into catalysts for positive change quickly. It has taught me humility and allowed me to explore what I’m curious about unapologetically. The result is a life well lived and no regrets about how I’ve spent my time up until now.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that likes to beat the fool out of us. As a result, reconnecting to our foolishness can be painful and isolating. It’s much safer to know things, to always work with what is irrefutably true, and to stay in line. In this way, we can sidestep humiliation and criticism. We can stay safe and avoid straining ourselves as we reach for a foothold that may or may not provide us with a stable place to push off of.
In exchange for losing touch with the fool inside all of us, we stay small. The world we live in is limited and we cut ourselves off from the expansiveness that comes with risk-taking. The risks we do take become distorted and appear bigger than they actually are. On the one hand, we feel a deep longing for something more that perhaps we can’t fully name. On the other hand, too much discomfort sends us into a panic that our world might be on the verge of collapse.
As creatives, we can be perfect or we can be successful but we can’t be both. Our work depends on us committing to it wholeheartedly however foolish that may be. We must believe that our work matters even as we seek out others who will validate that they care about it too. We’re not here to get everything right. Nor will we do our best work when we’re worried about making a fool of ourselves.
You will make a fool of yourself over and over again. And in exchange, you will get to create work that elevates us. That wakes us up. That makes our world brighter. You will have a shot at being someone worth celebrating now and remembering later. You will have the chance to shape a new future for us, we the foolish. The truth is, we are all fools making life up as we go along. You are a fool as am I. As is everyone.
So, where could more foolishness benefit you right now?