Philosophy

Let’s Try and Be Everything Shall We?

I used to be one of those people you envy. One of those people who was so certain of what they were going to do with their life that there were no questions. Most people start to try and figure out this kind of thing in high school, in preparation for declaring a college major. I knew when I was 10 years old. Could have told you exactly what I was going to do, who I was going to be and even where I was going to go to school (NYU! TISCH!). What is hyper-strange about me, is that as time progressed, I became less and less sure. I feel like this is the opposite of the way it usually works. No kid knows for sure what they want to do at 10, but they figure it out along the way and there you go.

At 17, when first applying to NYU, Tisch School of the Arts I realized that I didn’t want to be a performer. I had loved it since I first learned to talk, but it wasn’t the right career for me. I needed to DO to CONTROL and to DECIDE, three things that are not inherently up to you as an actor/singer etc. Existential crisis. While in crisis and trying to find out what was the right fit for me, I discovered directing. It is hard for me to believe looking back on it that this had not occurred to me before. I applied to NYU as a theater director and in my first semester, also discovered art history. And…now I’m a double major.

This will turn into a full length essay if I detail everything I’ve done since then. But suffice it to say, I have never had a linear career path. More like the trajectory of a ping pong ball. This however, is not for lack of focus. That I have always had. Passion is also something never lacking. So why can’t I just be like the normal people and pick one thing to do for the rest of my life? Well, I will tell you.

Recently, I was sitting at Dogpatch Labs and someone waiting to meet with another DP resident started up a conversation and in the process asked me, “What is your greatest fear?” I think I gave a slightly obscure answer at the time, but the question made me think. Do you know what my greatest fear is? DOING THE SAME THING FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I can’t commit the next 10 years to anything, I do not care how cool, awesome or ridiculously high paying you are. Does this make me interesting and awesome? Or just a girl with commitment issues?

I recently reached a point of deciding what exactly I want to do next. I have about four or five options that I can think of, and those options have options. At the encouragement of a friend, I end up making myself a career-oriented bucket list. What are all the end points that I would desire (not the end-end, but stopping points). At this juncture I am sure that you will not be surprised by the fact that…I needed a second sheet of paper. After my “Oy, holy crap” moment, I relay this news to the same friend who replied with “Awesome.” (love that some people in my life are as crazy as me). When I replied with my concern about what it all meant…he wisely countered with “If it were easy more people would do it.”

I want to be and do everything. Not everything, everything (no desire be the a doctor OR a lawyer) but enough everything to justify the hyperbole. However, my everythings fall under the following themes:  art, theater, education, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, entertainment and changing the world.  If you would like to be involved in (see About) or hire me for (girl’s gotta eat) the next thing that I will be or do, let’s talk. Your timing is perfect.

“If it’s not at least a little bit impossible, I’m bored” – Me

M

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My First Crazy Idea

I have had many crazy ideas in my lifetime. Starting around the time I learned to crawl, with a steady progression as the motor skills developed. Some of them good and a lot of them terrible. But even the terrible ones still turned out okay (no deaths or injuries to speak of), because what I learned was that ‘that doesn’t work’. At lot of the time, my crazy ideas and dreams came from wishing to make the world work, the way that I thought it should, that makes the most sense to me. This usually blew up in my face, of course; because as a child and adolescent I didn’t really have the power to make people listen (especially in Catholic school, cause they don’t change for nothing), and also just didn’t understand why they didn’t understand me.

To me the world is a place of infinite change and that there is always a better way to do something than the way you are doing it now. I tried to solve everything from school parking to social interactions to the awful stage direction in the Spring Musical; it didn’t matter what it was, if I saw a better, more efficient, more logical solution…I would become passionate about it, which usually lead to frustration because the nuns wouldn’t listen, the principal (aka musical director) took great offense to my suggestions and because changing the way people interacted socially in High School…is not something you are ever gonna change; teenagers are teenagers!  Crazy me.

I am not sure if it has been this way my entire life or if it was something that became a well-refined philosophy in directing school, but I firmly believe that every problem has a solution…we just haven’t thought of it yet. Just because you don’t know how to do it now…doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Most people don’t see the world this way and I may have just gotten used to/numb to the feeling of disappointment or frustration. Or it is simply the fact that these feelings no longer matter; I have something bigger in mind.

There are a couple of projects and plans (aka crazy ideas)  currently in the “Megan Janel Zimmer pipeline”, some of which are just problems, without solutions (yet). See the ABOUT page for details. So this is a place where I will likely try and work these problems out and throw in a random observation or two. I will also be attempting to teach myself Ruby on Rails and re-teach myself Algebra (it’s been 10 years). Let’s see where it goes. If there is a universe stumping question that you’d like to see me address…send it my way. Even so far as, “Who is John Galt?”

Thanks for stopping by!

Megan

 

P.S. Posts previous to this one were written on another blog (but by me!), as my favorites, I decided to move them over here. :)

Fail Faster

ARCHIVED March 31, 2011

Lesson of the Day is:   Fail Faster

As human beings we can pretty much assume that we would all prefer to never fail at all. But the counterpoint is that, because we are human beings, we are destined to fail. The problem is that the fear of that failure and desire to be perfect, accepted or right,  strings out the process of failure sometimes in years!! We as entrepreneurs and human beings in general have the ability to pivot, course correct and learn. The faster you get to the failing part, the faster you reap the benefits of that failure and create a better future, whether for the world or simply for yourself.

If you are going to fail at something, it is never because YOU were wrong or that YOU have no talent for whatever it is you are doing. What failed is your strategy. The inherent worth in the person that is YOU, is not a failure by default. Your plan for getting to wherever you were trying to go…was not a good one. Now if you try and tell me that they way you were doing it is the ONLY way that exists on the planet…well then I’ll tell you that you are crazy.

For example, working on a project for 6 months in order to get it right and perfect, only to realize that nobody wants it and the concept is a complete bust. When in reality…you could have figured this out in about 6 hours. You could have saved SOOO much time, and by the end of the original 6 months you will have gone on to build 2 other products. I guess you could say that the faster you fail, the faster you’ll succeed. All of that time you spend putting off the possible failure is just TIME WASTED.  Days and months thrown away that you can never get back.

Failure is not the end of the world and if you never fail at anything in your life, I guarantee that you will never learn anything either. If taking the easy road is where you are comfortable and yearn to stay, than ignore everything I say. Failure is a terrifying, albeit freeing concept.

So in everything you do, find the failure faster. If you’re going to fail, you are going to fail and prolonging the process only hurts you. The shorter the process, the more time you have to correct what you probably did wrong the first time and actually gain the knowledge inherent in that at an accelerated rate. It is like getting three years  worth of a master’s degree in one…wouldn’t that be preferable? You only have to give up one year of your life, instead of three? Think what you could DO in those TWO extra years!?! THAT WOULD ROCK. And given those circumstance, I might actually go!

Good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment.

Now let’s go change the world….shall we?

MJZ

The Fear and The Lesson

ARCHIVED March 20, 2011

I love the fact that currently my work doesn’t feel like work! I would just like to say, that going after something you believe in, with everything you’ve got is kind of the best thing ever. No fears, no doubts, no hesitations. Now the previous sentence is far from easy; it takes a lot of work. We are all human and the fear/doubt/hesitation thing is almost what we are brought up to do. But every now and then, a little bit of blind faith never hurt anybody.

I read a lot and I talk to people a lot; so I often can’t remember where I read and/or heard a certain thing that stuck with me. So, I can’t site this…but I remember being asked to make a list of things that I would do if I could not fail. Kind of like that magical potion from HP 6. It turns out to be a really interesting list — what would you do if it was impossible for you to fail? Well, I made this list a few months ago…and found it in one of my notebooks yesterday. Turns out, I’ve actually already gone after at least half of them. A life without fear, or the courage and judgment that something else is more important than fear, is what will set you free. It has probably been over a year since I accepted this to be true…but it has taken this long to find a way to put it into practice. I’d say it has taken a lot of trust in myself, living by ‘you don’t get anything that you don’t ask for’ and acceptance of possibility of failure. And that failure is SO NOT the end of the world. (I totally used to believe that it was).

No one is truly fearless. But the cliche of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ can actually become a lifestyle, if you work hard enough. Also remembering that nobody is perfect and you will always have days or situations that freak you out enough to hold you back. I think that’s totally okay, as long as you recognize that in that moment, the fear took over, and you’ll do better next time. That is all anybody can ever hope to do…learn.

MJZ