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Reinvention is not a simple undertaking. For two weeks I have touched upon a number of issues associated with this process. Yesterday we addressed templates for story construction and specifically targeted the restrictive nature of templates; life was missing. Be ready for conflict.

Story Trumps Form

Attempting to shoe-horn your story into a prescribed form leaves little room for the creator or the story to breathe. Authenticity is the first casualty and readability is right behind. Story is king and all else is at its service. If we follow a detailed road map to get from A to B, we are always going to B from A and always using the same road! This minimizes the experience of the author, minimizes the author’s point of view, and may well marginalize the author’s voice. Reinvention will never be adequately served by a template either.

Learn Nothing From History?

Am I suggesting we ignore the paths of earlier stories and by extension the paths of those who successfully reinvented themselves? Certainly not. The roadmaps for them are descriptive, not prescriptive. The danger in templates is not in their relative truth but that we limit ourselves to only one truth.

Within the legend of Arthur there is a discussion of finding the Grail. The knights are eager to set out upon their quest and ready to fall in behind a leader. The warning is that they should not follow the same path, each knight should set out on his own quest for the Grail. The template is one detailed description; we might be better served in our reinvention by a more generalized concept.

It Ain’t Sitting On The Beach With A Corona

The essence of life is conflict. Opposition produces innovation, learning, invention, and yes, reinvention. Conflict also produces great NBA finals! It’s everywhere. Conflict is ubiquitous. Sitting at the edge of the ocean, a lime submerged in a Corona, is not life! It’s a vacation! Vacations are the absence of conflict – unless it’s a vacation gone awry! And if the essence of life is conflict, the essence of story is the resolution. How do we overcome, mitigate, or otherwise resolve conflict?

A Sword Cutting Daisies

Tennessee Williams speaks eloquently to the absence of conflict: “But once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle you are equipped with the basic means of salvation. Once you know this is true, that the heart of man, his body and his brain, are forged in a white-hot furnace for the purpose of conflict (the struggle of creation) and that with the conflict removed, the man is a sword cutting daisies, that not privation but luxury is the wolf at the door and that the fangs of this wolf are all the little vanities and conceits and laxities that Success is heir to…”

What Does Talent Serve?

Our quest for reinvention, then, will resolve around conflict and the essence of my story of reinvention will be found in the journey to overcome the conflict of reinvention. Recent posts have already indicated that the difficulty in reinvention is retraining the mind and body out of the habits reinforced by decades of practice. The obvious question to follow will raise the issue of talent for whatever goal of reinvention we choose. Talent serves passion; the core of our passion will decide the level to which our talent rises. This has been true for all time. Men with a modicum of talent but great passion exceed their talent. Within reason, talent rises to meet passion. Certainly if my goal of reinvention is to become an NBA star – regardless of passion – the talent of a sixty-five year old 5′-10″ senior will only rise so far.

Feasibility and Passion

Only you and your passion can address practicality! It’s a vicious circle that brings us back to conflict. There is nothing without conflict. Embrace it for in this conflict we are truly alive.