Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tip O'Neil and 'The Princess Bride'.

Remember Tip O'Neil? Speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987? 

He was famous for saying "All politics is local." He first said it back in 1935 and was, of course, referring to The Princess Bride, truly one of the greatest movies ever made and which by a remarkable coincidence came out the year he retired from politics.

Sort of.

What Mr. O'Neil was saying is that we all tend to evaluate stuff in terms of how it relates to us. If it's a health care law and I have diabetes, am I going to have more access to coverage? If my child is autistic and it's The Princess Bride, what lessons can I take away from this story that will help me raise my kid?

If I write a blog about directing and it's a post telling me "17 Things The Princess Bride Taught Me About Autism Parenting," are my readers going to find this valuable? 

See where I'm headed with this? 

The blog I'm referring to is Snagglebox, written by Bec Oakley, and when I stumbled across it I thought exactly that. Here are a few of the highlights: 

2.  Optimism can get you through the fire swamp

Just because you haven’t tackled a problem before doesn’t mean there’s no solution, even for POUS’s (Problems of Unusual Size).

3.  Having a target will help you stay focused

You don’t have the energy or resources to tackle every challenge that’s in front of you. Find your six-fingered man - prioritize your goals, work out which of those you can tackle and then pursue them with everything you’ve got.

16.  Mostly dead is slightly alive

Even when you’re too tired to breathe and the odds stacked against you seem enormous, you will survive to fight another day.

See what I'm saying? Bec thinks she's talking about parenting a kid with autism. And she is. But she also happens to be talking about building a career as a director. (And running for office, I'd bet.)

I'm not going to give you all 17 of Bec's lessons because I think you ought to check out the entire blog. Here's the link: http://www.snagglebox.com/2013/02/17-things-princess-bride-taught-me.html

Go on. You'll come back. 

And if you don't, well, that's okay. The reason I write this blog is because I want to help others figure It out. My It –– the one that I focus on –– is the It that I know: the craft of mass communication. If Bec's It –– parenting kids with autism –– resonates better, great.

An interesting tidbit about Tip O'Neil. Once he came to realize that all politics is local –– in other words, that each and every one of us is dealing with our own It –– he never lost a single election. Not only that, but he got to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

He became the guy who represents the people we send to represent ourselves.

And that, for those of you who clicked on Bec's link and actually came back to finish this post of mine, is the meta-lesson for the day: Pay attention to your It. Because if you're true to your It, your It can't help but resonate with others' Its.

Thank you, Bec.