6 Principles from a Creative Genius on Making Your Vision a Reality

I’ve recently been obsessed with George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga and other blockbuster films, which has led to all sorts of interesting reading and web exploration. Many people seem to believe Lucas has gone over to the “Dark Side” himself, only “in it for the money” with his projects (we’ll have to talk about that another time), but I’ve always found him to be an inspiring visionary.

Here’s why I’m interested: I believe that we can learn from successful, creative geniuses about how to bring our dreams to fruition.

I recently re-watched a documentary about the making of the original Star Wars trilogy. The insider’s look at the creation of a grand vision is utterly compelling.

What I love about watching George Lucas in action — particularly the George of the 1976 Star Wars production era — is seeing his absolute dedication and unshakable commitment to the creation of his art, his way.

Again and again, he steered clear of involvement with the Hollywood studios as much as he could (particularly later in the film series), and found ways to maintain his independence, like retaining merchandising rights (even when it wasn’t clear there would be a popular market for the merchandise).

He worked and reworked his script to be as precise as possible and checked and rechecked his story themes to make sure he was conveying the powerful mythological messages and meanings he wanted to convey.

He repeatedly overcame what looked like insurmountable odds to bring his vision to reality. With the first film, schedules were massively delayed, props were malfunctioning, costumes and sets weren’t living up to his vision, budgets were falling by the way side, and the studio was threatening to pull the plug, but still he kept on.

Clearly, Lucas experienced his own hero’s journey to create his films, along the lines of the story he tells of Luke Skywalker facing his own shadow and obstacles, reaching deep within himself to grow and expand into who he is meant to be and what he is meant to do in the world.

So what is it that enables one creative visionary to succeed, where another might fail? What can we learn from George Lucas about how to make our own visions real?


Here are 6 principles I’ve gleaned from my studies of him so far:

1. If you can see it, it must be possible. People around Lucas would tell him that something couldn’t be done, and he’d say, “Don’t worry about how we’re going to do it.”

I’ve always believed that if I can see something, there has to be a way to create it, even if I can’t see how yet. That’s how I’ve taught myself so much of what I’ve learned, and created so much of what I’ve created.

Interestingly, many technological advances are first devised in science fiction circles — and then the scientists figure out how to make it so.

If you have a creative vision, treat it with sacred respect, trust it, and get to work.

2. Stay true to your vision. Repeatedly, the people who worked with him would say that Lucas’ vision and passion for the idea were what made it all possible. They were obviously in awe of his ability to hold the vision, even when they couldn’t see it themselves.

Are you clear on the big idea of your vision and ready to see it through to the end, even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get there?

Find what you LOVE about it, remind yourself WHY you’re doing it, and go for it. Passion and perseverance will carry you through.

3. Delegate. A true visionary enlists other talented, dedicated, and creative supporters to help him or her make a vision real. George Lucas repeatedly hired other directors, screen writers, and editors, for instance, despite having those skills himself, because he knew he couldn’t be in the trenches and hold the big vision.

4. Be a strong leader. Although the pressure was intense, Lucas never seemed to waver or give up. Powerful leadership requires an unshakable faith in purpose and direction. Be clear on yours and retain your independence. It’s YOUR vision after all.

5. Be flexible. At the same time, be flexible, and allow your team to support you.

One of Lucas’ directors, Irvin Kershner, disagreed with him on a key line (where Han Solo says, “I know” in response to Leia’s “I love you” in the second film). Lucas thought it was a mistake, but went with it for an early screening. The audience loved it and talked about endlessly — so George left it as it was. He was flexible.

6. Trust your feelings. The concept of “The Force” in the Star Wars saga is the thread that weaves together both a teaching from the films and from Lucas’ creative legacy. Lucas knows the importance of developing and mastering our own emotional intelligence. Clearly he has followed his own, time and again, despite obviously massive outside pressure to conform to various norms and expectations.

From my perspective, this is all about trusting your own inner wisdom, even if it doesn’t make sense on the surface.

After all, every Jedi master knows that our eyes can deceive us.



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I’d love to hear about how or if this article has impacted you. Thanks for sharing your comments here on the blog, below.



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What’s Jenna Up To?

~> Thursday, July 29, 2010, Jenna starts her Embrace Your Inner Wisdom teleclass series. Learn to work with one of your greatest gifts as a sensitive soul — your intuition. Regular registration opens soon. Watch this space for details.

~> August 2010. Jenna’s Give Voice to Your Inner Vision Mastermind Retreat. Clarify your unique vision to implement your Life Purpose in a specific, step-by-step plan. We’re in the process of finalizing the dates for this in-person retreat to be held here in Berkeley, California. Interested? Please contact Jenna’s team to be put on the mailing list for the program.



Comments

  1. Wow! Once again a very timely post. I’ve heard all about Lucas’s efforts in making his films numerous times (my husband is a HUGE fan), but this time it finally hit home. There is nothing between my dream and me that persistance can’t overcome. Thanks again, Jenna, for reminding me of that.

  2. Hi Jenna,

    Super article! I feel your energy around GL. He isn’t afraid of his “force” (aka his creativity). He just goes for it. If others doubt his creative forces he brushes off their fears and continues on.

    This line seems to hold some kind of key:

    Interestingly, many technological advances are first devised in science fiction circles — and then the scientists figure out how to make it so.

    If you study science fiction, perhaps you can touch the future more easily. Like it’s some kind of magic portal.

    Like your two new upcoming teleclasses. Both sound great!

    Giulietta, always musing

  3. Jenna says:

    Virginia, Awesome! You’re welcome, and go for it. Your book looks awesome.

    Giulietta, Nice piece of sleuthing work there, my friend.

    I love what you wrote about Lucas not being afraid of his “creative force.”

    And why would it be something to fear? Why are so many of us (including me) terrified of our creative expression?

    I suspect that it can’t simply be the fear of creative rejection, though I know that’s part of it (and a big part — it can feel like a deep, instinctual survival level fear to be rejected for who we are/ what we offer). I think it also has to do with being absolutely overwhelmed by our own brilliance — a bit like looking into the sun — it is scary good frightening too bright too big but amazing.

    Love the magic portal thought, Ms. Muse. Nice one.

    Jenna

  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for the discussion of visionaries Jenna. And for the encouragement for HSPs to claim our roles as visionaries. Although I don’t entirely agree with your analysis of Star Wars and George Lucas. It is easy to be considered a ‘visionary’ when you (Lucas) are part of the dominant paradigm and don’t challenge it any way. I just completed an interdisciplinary PhD on the importance of vision to creating sustainable and just futures. As part of that research I looked at images of the future in films. Lucas’ films are consistently sexist, racist, violent, dead-Earth, anti-nature — as are most contemporary films about the future. What is “the force” really? Ever seen a female Jedi?

    That is why it is especially important for HSPs to be visionary – to offer alternative and diverse visions of the future – in resistance to the dominant images – that allow for all humans and all species to flourish. Even the quiet ones ;-)

    Elise Boulding sadly just passed away, but her academic and activist lives were dedicated to creating a World Without Weapons. Now that is visionary!

    in peace,
    Karen

  5. Jenna says:

    Karen,

    Thanks for the comments. Yes — as sensitives we absolutely need to claim our roles as visionaries, and the power of our creativity. We have powerful wisdom to share with a world who needs it badly.

    I have seen female Jedi (http://www.u.arizona.edu/~memcinto/jedi/index.htm), starting in the prequel films. I don’t agree with your other points about his work, but I appreciate your conviction.

    Regardless of your opinion of his work, George Lucas had a clear, strong vision of the story he wanted to tell, and made that happen. In my book, that makes him a visionary.

    Jenna

  6. Suzanne says:

    Hi Jenna,

    I remember reading that Lucas’ mother supported him when young by indulging all his crazy creativity in writing, dressing up and making films from grade school age. So what I can take from this is… how do we support those budding ideas? How can I support myself like she so lovingly supported him?

    Suzanne

    • Jenna says:

      Suzanne, I think you named the answer: Indulge yourself in all your “crazy creativity”! I just interviewed a fabulous creative visionary yesterday (I’ll be sharing a video soon) and she mentioned that she lives EVERY aspect of her life creatively — how she dresses, what she eats, how she “designs” her weeks. It was brilliant.

  7. Abby H. says:

    Ok, I just applied to the accounting dept at LucasArts at the Presidio. (Yes I live in NH, but I’m moving to SF soon). Um. I have had so many star wars signs in the past week, it is unbelievable!!!! I just know I’m going to get the job now. I am inspired by your work, Jenna. And I’m so grateful for your insights and ideas.

    Whew. Just have to breathe. I will share one sign and that should do it for now.

    I was doing my accounting homework at Barnes and Noble (as you do) and I had Star Wars playing on my mini DVD player (with headphones). I took a break from school work to look at the LucasFilms site…then I looked up. There was a man standing in front of me wearing a Star Wars shirt.

    And now your article. I am so joyful to have these signs come right when I need them.

    I would not say he has sold out. He has an amazing company, filled with blessings and integrity…and people have to work…so why not work at a progressive company that treats their people like the creative geniuses that they are!

    I dunno. I’m just on stream of consiciousness here.

    Thanks for your article.

    Abby

    • Jenna says:

      Abby, LOVING the synchronicities. Thanks for sharing that with us. Maybe you can help me land an interview with GL once you get there. :)

  8. Shell says:

    As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I’m loving this post about George Lucas. I saw the documentary on how he got Star Wars off the ground and it is truly inspiring. On a personal note, my love of Luke Skywalker and wanting to be a Jedi to use The Force led me to open up to my own intuitive abilities that was reinforced by my mom growing up.

    • Jenna says:

      Shell, Isn’t it just amazing to see what he’s done? I totally agree about The Force — looking back now I see how powerfully that concept has created the foundation of my own spirituality and fascination with developing my intuition.

  9. brenda says:

    i love to watch biographies of creative people..there was one on direct-
    ors on reelz channel.. i was amazed at how george lucas held his vision
    through many challenges..
    watching and reading about creatives is impt to me to stay inspired and
    to see how much i have in common with them vs. thinking something is
    wrong with me because i don’t fit the “normal mold”.. i was taught to be
    “realistic”, obey authority, and conform ..i was strongly discouraged from
    being inventive and visionary, which has always been my nature, and
    still get terrified at times as i am following my vision.. constantly taking a
    tiny step forward and keeping the vision stronger than the doubts and
    fears is helping me .. also feeling like what it would feel like doing the
    vision and imagining myself doing it… using the wonderful imagination
    gift.. thanks jenna, love these creative visionary blogs.

    • Jenna says:

      Brenda, Thanks for the note and the encouragement. So many of us have been discouraged from being our visionary, creative, inventive, and intuitive selves. It’s time to reclaim that energy, eh?

  10. This article is very interesting. I agree that George Lucas is a genius but I firmly believe that if we put our life in our dreams, there is a possibility that we can turn it to reality. As long as we can see it, it’s possible. Don’t stop believing.

  11. Spot on with this write-up, I really suppose this website needs way more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to read way more, thanks for that info.

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