Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg gave the commencement speech for Harvard’s graduating class. In it, the renowned filmmaker describes one key to being the hero of your own story: Listen to your intuition.
As Spielberg describes it, your conscious mind often describes what you should do. You should get a safe job, you should avoid problems, you should follow every rule. Your intuition, however, will tell you what you could do. He then relays the story of how he dropped out of university in his second year to get a job at Universal Studios. The rest of us know the story from there:
For the first 25 year of our lives, we are trained to listen to voices that are not our own. Parents and professors fill our heads with wisdom and information and then employers and mentors take their place and explain how this world really works. And usually these voices of authority make sense, but sometimes doubt starts to creep into our heads and into our hearts and even when we think “That’s not quite how I see the world,” it’s easier to not and agree with and go along…
Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that. Because once I tuned in to my intuition, certain projects began to pull me into them, and others, I turned away from.
It takes time to build up a solid intuition, so if you’re still young and not quite sure how to branch out on your own, don’t worry. However, your education and experience is designed to build you to a place where you can start making decisions for yourself and trust your intuition. If you want to be the hero of your own story, rather than a supporting character in someone else’s, you have to get to a point where you can listen to that intuition.