“Never stop looking for what’s not there.” ~ Monty Wildhorn ~ The Magic of Belle Island
Usually long before the weekend rolls around, I already know what I want to write about, but this week I had no idea until late Friday night when I did two things I rarely do; stayed up past my usual 9:00 pm curfew, and watched a movie. The movie I watched was called The Magic of Belle Island with Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. As with most of the Hollywood crowd, I wish Mr. Freeman would keep his radical liberal views to himself, but I must give credit where it’s due – he is blessed with a tremendous acting ability.
The movie is very inspiring and I highly recommend it. Freeman plays a western novelist who stopped writing when his wife died six years earlier and turned his attention to the bottle. He is also wheelchair bound and is really just waiting on death to relieve his misery. He goes to spend a summer dog-sitting at a home on Belle Island where next door he finds Madsen and her three daughters. One of the daughters, Finnegan, aspires to be a writer herself and convinces her new neighbor, Monty Wildhorn, to mentor her. Along the way, Wildhorn finds long-dead inspiration to start living again.
The line in the movie that really captured my attention was “Never stop looking for what’s not there.” In its context, it was meant to inspire the imagination for creating a story. When you think about it, the phrase really applies to any aspect of creativity or innovation in life that we should all utilize more. You don’t have to be a writer to look for what’s not there, even though as the saying goes – there’s a book inside each of us.
The movie line also applies to business and innovation. Henry Ford saw what wasn’t there when he created the first assembly line, revolutionizing manufacturing. Christopher Columbus saw what wasn’t there when he envisioned a world that was round and not flat. Dr. DeBakke saw what wasn’t there when he performed the first heart transplant.
Everything in life is impossible until it is accomplished. That’s really what it means to look for what’s not there. Look for what is possible. To me, one of the worst phrases to ever come out of the workplace is, “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” It immediately gelds creativity. It stops the inertia of progress. Don’t allow yourself to ever not try something in a new way simply because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Look for what’s not there.
If you want to watch a very good, inspiring movie – watch The Magic of Belle Isle. If you want to keep your creative juices flowing, never stop looking for what’s not there.