Seeing Signs…

I have an illogical prejudice toward the supernatural in its many embodiments and concepts. I understand the oxymoronic nature of the previous statement, but it is nonetheless the best way to state my relationship with such things. Some superstitions and frameworks I believe wholeheartedly while other are unambiguous bullshit to me. For the rest, I approach with heavy skepticism. Even so, there are still moments where I have trouble deciding if an event is coincidence or some sort of sign.

A few weeks ago, I finished reading a great book, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I won’t go into the full synopsis, but the overall themes of choice and active involvement in life were exactly what I needed to read at that moment. I was in a bit of a crossroads as to what to do concerning certain aspects of my life and how to move forward, and that book really gave me perspective. It didn’t answer all my questions nor quell doubts, but it did provide a sort of lighthouse amid the ocean chaos and concerns.

More recently, I got a subscription to Apple+TV to finally watch the much recommended and lauded show of Ted Lasso. It is deserving of all the accolades, and, as with all great shows, I binged all the available episodes. So, to not waste the new subscription, I looked around for other programming I might enjoy which is how I came across Mythic Quest. A comedy show based on a fictional video game company created by the minds behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia starring several great and talented character actors: yeah, that sound right up my alley. And it was, but somehow it was also an interesting meta commentary and exploration of creativity, drive, talent, corporate involvement in art, and the kind of people and personalities that thrive in and make careers and lives around the creation of art.

One scene in particular stuck out to me. In the finale of season 2 (potentially the series finale), Dana (a game tester with aspirations of becoming a game programmer and designer) is rejected from a game design program and goes to her bosses, Ian and Poppy (the co creative lead designers of the titular video game) for advice and guidance. They, very much in character, utterly trash the simplistic game Dana has created (and truthfully it is a very poorly designed “game”). However, amid the criticisms and put downs, both Ian and Poppy directly ask Dana a question: “Would you stop building this game if I told you it sucks and is not worth the effort?” Dana, respectfully, states that she thinks they are both great designers and programmers and respects their input and guidance, but no, she would continue working on her game because she genuinely believes that it could be great. She doesn’t know how or why and cannot come up with any explanation or defense of her na├»ve belief, but she does.

In response, Ian and Poppy tell her that she still has a job at the company, that they are pulling strings to get her into a game design program closer to the area and her current level of skill, are helping to pay for school, and are offering her a position at the company upon graduation. Dana is flabbergasted by Ian’s and Poppy’s reactions. She wonders if they believe in her and/or her vision. They respond, without hesitation, that no they do not. Her game sucks, and they have absolutely no idea if she will be at all capable of creating a good game once she graduates. However, they tell her that even when her bosses and creative idols told her that her game sucked she still wanted to keep working on it, and that is what separates her from the rest of the aspirational designers in the company. It’s not her skills or talent or creativity that will make her successful, but her innate belief in her vision and willingness to keep working toward making it a reality.

Obviously, that drive won’t necessarily lead to a great final product, the show and characters basically state as much, but it is a necessary component of creation and progress in virtually any endeavor. You will fail; you will fall; you will be diminished, doubted, and demoralized. And in those moments the only thing that will keep you going is the desire to do so and belief that you are actually worthy and capable of accomplishing what you want. Somehow, that was what I needed to see and hear at this moment again.

Now, I’m not claiming to be a full believer or anything, but sometimes there are actual signs trying to guide us. And even if it is all just coincidence and looking for greater meaning, what is the difference if the message and inspiration is still seen and felt? After all, it is still with intention to simply…

Be Better.

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