“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -1982 Atari advertisement[1]

Take a moment and think of your big goal—one that you have not achieved yet. Now complete the following sentence: “I could achieve that goal if only ______________________________.”
[Dramatic pause]
Now, did you fill in the blank with action steps or an excuse? If action steps, great. Work your plan and make it happen. If you heard yourself offering excuses, you may need to readjust the way you think about achieving success.
I just finished reading You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day. If you said, “Felicia who?”—that is OK. She might not be a household name, unless you are a computer gamer.

She wrote and stared in The Guild, one of the first really successful online series. The Guild is about the lives of gamers. It was a self-biographical comedy about a painfully shy, female gamer and her friends. After she wrote her first script, she could not get any of the TV networks to pick it up, so she produced it herself online and it became a smash hit in her corner of the internet.
The interesting thing about Felicia is that she is an introvert. She is also a woman in a male-dominated culture. She had no experience. She just kept going in spite of the obstacles. Placing an entire TV series online? Nobody was really doing that. She created the future.
If Felicia’s story did not grab you, that is OK. I had never heard of her either until I read the book. I am more of a standard academic nerd than a computer geek. I was aware of The Guild, but I did not know much more about it. But Felicia told a story that I found inspiring.
She visited George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch. As you know, Lucas created Star Wars. Because Felicia is kind of a big deal in her niche, and one of the employees was a big fan of The Guild, she received a private tour. She got to touch the real Death Star. Along the way, she noticed some other interesting artifacts. She explained:

At one point I stopped at a shelf with some odd-looking grenade objects, colorful but rough around the edges.
‘What are these?’
‘Oh, they’re from Star Wars. Part of the power generator inside the shield generator on Endor.’
I looked closer. ‘They look . . . janky. What are they made out of?’
‘Dixie cups.’
‘Wait, what? You mean the . . .’
‘Yes, the disposable cups. They’re spray-painted, see’ My guide lifted up the prop delicately and turned it over for me. Sure enough, I could see that underneath all the paint and decoration was a cup I could pull from a dispenser next to an office water bottle.
‘Um . . . what?
‘During the filming of Star Wars, Lucas ran out of money, and the studio wouldn’t give him more. He invested his own money in the film in exchange for the merchandising rights…’
‘…and that’s why he’s a billionaire.’
‘Right. But they still had to cut a lot of corners. Some of the props, even wardrobe pieces like the cuffs on the slave Leia costume had to be cobbled together any way they could.’
‘By painting Dixie cups.” I stared at the prop in awe. It probably cost half a penny to make, and it was a piece of the biggest movie franchise ever created. Definitely the most inspiring object I’d ever seen.[2]

What about you?

If Felicia can pioneer the online series, and George Lucas could complete props for Star Wars with painted Dixie Cups, what is holding you back?  Did you fill in the blank with an excuse? The word excuse comes from the latin (ex – out; causa – accusation; Literally to free from blame).  Are you moving toward your goals or freeing yourself from blame?


[1] Atari advertisement. (1982, September 20) InfoWorld. (p. 68). Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=BDAEAAAAMBAJ&q=%22create+it%22#v=snippet&q=%22create%20it%22&f=false
[2] Day, F. (2016). You’re never weird on the Internet (almost): A memoir. New York: Touchstone
(pp. 255-256).