Jumping is hard - falling is easy

I think this title was originally used by Peter Mohrbacher (if anybody knows otherwise, please point it out to me) and is about the short film 'Ten meter tower'

HOPPTORNET (TEN METER TOWER) by Axel Danielson & Maximilien Van Aertryck from Plattform Produktion on Vimeo.

Everybody struggles with it, the fear of doing something scary because it might be dangerous. There are of course moments in which this anxiety is healthy. But there are many situations in which anxiety is not necessary and thus is holding you back.

To tell you a bit about me: I come from a family of anxious people. This is no joke: My grandmother fainted when my grandfather played a prank on her. Since I freeze when I get scared I like to think of myself as a human possum ;) . Furthermore, everything I do has to be planned way ahead, possibly with plan B to Z. This is a good skill to have because most of the time I am prepared for nearly everything and even if things go wrong I stay calm.

But... it also keeps me from taking risks, even in moments in which nearly nothing bad could happen. The film shows how hard it is for us humans to take a risk if our body and mind say “Don't do it!! Bad things will happen! Maybe you will die!!” even if the risk is of this is very low when jumping from a tower in a pool.

With this post I want to encourage everybody to take calculated risks! Especially if this involves getting out of your comfort zone. For me personally I made 2017 the year of 'de-scaring' myself.
First of I got a tattoo — I always wanted to have one but always found a reason for not getting one.
I attended three major art events — IFCC, THU and Playgrounds. A massive amount of people and talent in a very intense environment. So many reasons to get anxious: I hate flying, not only the hassle of being at an airport, but mostly the physical sensation of flying and the constant irrational fear of crashing. I dislike large groups and moving around in them and then the socialising and “What if nobody likes my art!?”
and — I got a car and I am (still) learning how to drive. With this I won't go into details, but it's a big one for me and stressed me out most of this year.

Nothing bad has happened by meeting my very irrational fears head on!

Quite the opposite: I've got to meet great people, had many meaningful conversations and got to fill my heart with new impressions and experiences.
To everybody out there who is struggling with their own personal demon: Don't let them hold you back. Jump from the ten-meter tower, even if it takes you a couple of times to bring up the courage, even if you rather let yourself fall into the depth instead of making a big leap. You will feel yourself grow with every jump you take!


Why you should stop looking at what others made

The internet is a as much a treasure as it can be a curse.

YOU shape your own life and your own future, as much as anybody else shapes their future. It doesn't happen through looking at what everybody else is doing and comparing yourself desperatly with them. Which may even discourage you in a way that you don't want to do anything anymore because "Heck, you are never going to be that awesome illustrator when you are 24, because you are already 26....

Social media can be a good tool to be able connect with like mindes artists and build your own following, it can be pure evil when it comes to comparing your life with the ones of others.

You are never to old to do what makes you happy.

people who became famous at a later age:

Samuel Jackson has been a Hollywood staple for years now, but he'd had only bit parts before landing an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee's film "Jungle Fever" in 1991.

Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car.

Charles Darwin spent most of his life as a naturalist who kept to himself, but at age 50 his "On the Origin of Species" changed the scientific community forever in 1859.

Julia Child is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.

Vera Wang left Ralph Lauren at 40 and became an independent bridal wear designer

J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1997.

Jon Hamm received his breakthrough role in 2007, when he was cast from more than 80 candidates as the protagonist character Don Draper, in AMC's drama series Mad Men.

And there are many more examples out there. So whenever you think "I'll never make it. I'm too old to still get what I want from life because others made it when they were younger than I am now!" Give that stupid voice in your head a good kickin'. It's just self doubt in another dress. Never turn down because you or anybody else think your are too old or too small or to young or to unknown or something else to do whatever it is you want to do.


"You can't do that"

“You can't do that!” or “You can't do it this way!” are sure two sentences everyone got told in their lives at least a couple of times. Although this is most often well-meant advice, it is also complete bollocks. Okay...maybe not for some facts like “You can't grow wings. You just can't do that!”. But there are many moments in life when others tell you you can't do something just because they think you shouldn't do it. There are moments when these people have the best intentions, knowing that their path brought them happiness and they want you to be happy too. But there will be many moments when it's just about social and cultural norms.

norm; NOUN:
1.1 (usually norms) A standard or pattern, especially of social behaviour, that is typical or expected.
1.2 A required standard; a level to be complied with or reached.

Which is directly related to:
normal; ADJECTIVE:
1 Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

Over the last two weeks I had a bunch of conversations about my work or the work of others, their paths in life, what they/I want to do and where everyone of us is heading. What I always came back to was “What makes you happy?”
Fulfilling expectations and social norms are satisfactory because we as humans like to do what other humans do. We want to be accepted into society and we don't want conflict. Disharmony and friction is irritating. It costs precious energy you would rather use for something else. That's why we just move along without current: take the same classes as our friends in school, join a prestigious university or the university our friends are attending, get a decent job, get kids at the appropriate age yada yada yada.

There is nothing wrong with that. Not if that is what you want. It's alright if that makes you happy. But what if this makes you miserable. What if you think “Man, why do I feel so unsatisfied while everybody around me seems so pleased? What's wrong with me, I should be happy!” and unless you have a depression or any other mental health issue, it may just be that this is not making you happy. So why don't you just find out what does? It may be difficult, it may involve getting disappointed and it may require some hard work to get where you want. We got taught that we can't do so much. Young kids are not yet so self-conscious that they know they should be humble, that they know they are not the best or prettiest or fastest kid in the class. They still believe that they can be it someday. We get taught that we should behave according to a social norm. As a grown up, many of us stick to these norms.

Now comes the part which may be depressing, but can also be refreshingly comforting. All these norms, all these social behaviours we got taught which keep us from exploiting our full potential and being content with who we are is: None of this matters. Everybody will die eventually, you and the people who are satisfied living the norm. To be even more radical: In the end the human race will probably go extinct and our planet will explode. It doesn't matter if you lived your life as others expected you to or not. They will not put on your gravestone “And she lived an average, normal life.”.
So why bother? Live your life to the fullest because it's the only one you've got. Don't live as mediocre as possible.

So let's get weird...

..and hopefully happy in that process.