Divining Rods and Dreams

There’s a great article in this month’s Psychology Today magazine penned by Augusten Burroughs. (I’m trying to find a link to the article proper, but it’s resisting thus far.) At first, it seems like a downer: it’s about giving up dreams.

He speaks about reciting a poem for a school performance…and how he knew that it was genius. He was genius. He was an actor that was only seen once in a generation.

And then he saw the video. Without the emotional pull of performing…he saw himself perform.

Augusten Burroughs (“Running With Scissors” and a new book, “This Is How”) thought he was a great actor until he saw himself act on tape. “Thank the Lord Jesus for making video recorders and play-back decks at just exactly the right moment in time. Because I was able to now see myself not in my own mind, but rather with my own eyes. And it was a stunning revelation.” Burroughs refreshingly suggests that sometimes, people are better off letting go of their unrealistic dreams. (from Vera Titunik‘s article for the Times.)

The unvarnished, unsubjective truth that this video showed him? Is that he was, sadly, not the best, most fantastic actor of his generation. (I think he used the word “mannequin.”)

But – and here’s the kicker that sticks with me – the reason behind his wanting to act? The real reason? Was because he wanted to connect with people.

And so he started to write.

(I think we’d agree that he’s a fantastic writer…maybe even a better writer than he might’ve been as an actor.)

But the real nugget of wisdom? Comes in the fact that he figured out what his real purpose was…to connect with people. Once that truth was divined? He just needed to tweak the method…in his case, from acting to writing.

In mine, from singing to administrating.

What’s your true purpose? Are you living it? How can you get there?

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