Follow the Plan
The Democratic presidential primary is unofﬁcially-ofﬁcially-over. Joe Biden is going to win, and any further punditry at this point is rather meaningless. I was watching some political news last night (which seems frivolous, given the circumstances, but what else am I gonna do?) And I got to thinking about how long this primary has gone on, and how fast things change. As always, I won’t share my political views on here, but the process reminded me of making movies and being creative.
This primary has essentially been going on since December of 2016. People devoted years upon years of their lives to becoming president, and the race experienced a multitude of lead changes. Everyone calculated the kind of persona they’d have to adopt to win, sometimes changing multiple times within the same month. And yet, we each only get to cast one vote, and at the end there’s only one winner.
Looking back on the whole thing, it’s amazing how ﬁckle we are. Not just the voters, but the experts who claim to know exactly what the voters want. One week we’re talking about how Joe Biden’s campaign is dead because he couldn’t adapt to the times, the next week it turns out that he’s the only one who had any idea what’s going on (if cable news is to be believed). People change their minds so frequently that you can’t possibly win by changing yourself to accommodate them. You just have to make what you think is the best possible plan, and stick to it no matter what.
The length of a presidential campaign is about the same as the time it takes to make a big movie. And there are a lot of similarities. Whenever there’s a new James Bond or Star Wars movie, some new director has their own take on the franchise. And that take will never please everyone when you announce it. You can say it has to be darker, and there will be fans who miss the silliness of old movies. You can try to make it sillier, and there will be fans who say you’re not taking the material seriously. And if you spend two years making a movie, everyone’s opinion is going to change on a monthly basis, including yours.
In art, just like in campaigns and sports and just about everything else, you need to make a plan. And that plan has to be good enough for you to follow it on the days you’d prefer to abandon it. Because thoughts and whims are always changing, but the truly successful people stick to their principles and ideas.
Trying to be Diligent