Thursday, 7 April 2011

Lights, Cameras, Action....

I asked a 9 year old the other day what she wanted to be, when she grows up.

And she replied ‘I want to be famous’

My first thought was ‘The ills of today’s society. That poor child spends too much time in front of the TV. It’s got to be all those reality TV programmes, making these poor young children believe that you can just wake up one day and decide you want to be ‘famous’ – hah!. I need to speak to her mum. No-one starts off life wanting to be famous. Most people start off wanting to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, Teacher etc , you know, something ‘regular’ (hopefully, something that will require some college education as well!). You then aspire to do something outstanding in that career that will make you famous. That’s how it’s done!’ Blah, blah, blah

Naturally, as a responsible adult, I did not voice those thoughts out. Rather I pried a little further.

‘Famous doing what, my dear?’

‘Famous in movies’

‘Like an actress?’ I asked

‘Nah. I want to be a movie director. I want to make and direct my own movies. I write the scripts, I do the auditions and pick the cast, costumes, the set. Then I film the movie and market it to a big company or a TV station’

‘Are you going to do everything by yourself? That’s a lot of hats to wear!’ I asked

‘Of course not! I will do the bits I like (write the script, direct the movie, casting) and get people to do the stuff I can’t. Maybe I’ll let my big sister design the set, cos she wants to be an interior designer!’

Do remember that I’m having this conversation with a 9 year old... When I was 9, I was getting to grips with long multiplication, simple geometry and the rudiments of writing a decent, structured English essay, certainly not planning how to run a successful movie empire and overthrow Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg. I certainly had my own dreams, but I know they were not as grand and well thought out as this.

And then this got me thinking about something I read recently in another blog, where the writer blogged about Albert Einstein’s quote ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. My first thoughts when I read that blog was ”Surely, you need both (in equal doses) to be successful”. Another blog I visit regularly also has a post about the fear of failure or the failure to fear.

But after listening to my 9 year old sage, I’ve learnt a lot.
Now, I'm not sure if this is a sign of the times or a cultural thing, but here's what I know. I know that today's children, in their innocence, believe in the possibilities and dream big. “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it,” William Author Ward. A lot of children I come across today believe this - fully! Not bad, I say, provided there is a wise, mature adult available to provide practical guidance and keep them grounded.

Sadly, as adults, we have lost that 'innocence' and immediately see the negatives (That's impossible, because I do not have the knowledge) rather than the positives (What if I tried to do that? What would the outcome be?) in every situation.

You know, with imagination, there are no boundaries, no limits, no borders, no ceilings (glass or otherwise). There’s practically nothing in your way, except you, your mind and how far you want to go. Imagine first and then seek the knowledge that will make your imagination a reality. Explore the ‘what-if?’ and see where that takes you. Let your imagination run wild first, and then think about how knowledge will help you achieve it and where to acquire that knowledge (get the knowledge yourself or collaborate with people who already have the knowledge).

To my 9 year old movie mogul, I say – ‘From your lips to God’s ears. Go for it!’ Move over Kathryn Bigelow!


  1. This is a great post! I couldn't agree with you more, imagination is where it starts, it has to.

    Regardless of how big or how small the goal, it starts in our mind. Every success, every theory, every invention starts with imagination. It's amazing what some individuals can accomplish if they drown out the "knowledgeable" naysayers. I mean not every idea will be successful but...

    The way I see it, it's not even the idea succeeding that's the most important part, it's the journey and the fact that you had the balls to go for it and try.

  2. So true.....and it had to take a 9 year old to make me see it differently....
    Glad you liked it.

  3. If she ao focused and driven at that age... what will her thoughts be at 15?! Lovely write up!

  4. Your guess is as good as mine. I'm keeping a close eye on her, for sure!

  5. this is such a timely encouragement. i was just thinking last night of the limitations that i perceive in moving to the next level in my career and how to get over those so that i can grow. and then i read this. i agree and i will follow suit. please tell the 9 year-old she's gotten a 'like' from me.

  6. Limitations and self-doubt keep us back. I thank God for children and their innocence!


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