When you see someone who has acquired some degree of success, it’s easy to assume that their passion found them like a pure white unicorn unexpectedly showing up in their backyard. They were having coffee in the kitchen and just looked up from the window over the sink to see a dazzling white horse with a horn standing by the bird bath. In wonder, they followed it outside. As they approached, it gently moved away, turning back to make sure they were following. Then, like a surreal Lassie, it led them deep into the forest. After following this magical creature, they were eventually led to a beautiful treasure chest. And that’s how Stephen King became an author.
But that’s not really how it happens. I wish it did. But nobody stumbles on their dream like that. I used to constantly try to have “touchdown moments.” Have you ever seen a movie where a football falls at a fan’s feet? The fan picks it up and then inexplicably throws a 50-yard touchdown. The coach sees it, they immediately put a uniform on him, and he wins the game. Hooray!
Finding out what you’re meant to do is rarely like that. A lot of times, finding out what you’re supposed to do comes at the end of a lot of failure. In fact, sometimes you have to draw monsters.
That’s how things happened for Maurice Sendak. He’s the wildly successful author of the book, Where the Wild Things Are. Creator of a treasured childhood book and a popular movie, Maurice is known all over the world for his book. What’s interesting is that it was accidental.
When he initially sat down to create Where the Wild Things Are, he planned to populate the island with horses. Max, the little boy who you read about running away from home to the island of the monsters, was originally supposed to go play with horses. The only problem was that, try as he might, Sendak couldn’t draw horses. They just wouldn’t come out right. So as a last resort, he drew monsters.
It turns out, he’s awesome at drawing monsters. He can draw monsters like few people on the planet. He was designed to draw monsters.
Can you imagine the book being as popular or as celebrated if Max had romped about the jungle with a bunch of horses? Can you imagine how boring the movie would have been if it was populated with common looking ponies?
Thankfully, Max failed so that he could succeed. He bombed his way to finding his thing.
And you might too. The only question is, when it comes to chasing your dream:
Are you ready to draw some monsters?