#SoG122 - A lesson from Manhunt (a show about a serial bomber)

#SoG122 - Sing for yourself? Or be the Sheep?

Last night, I saw s1e1 of Manhunt, a show about the Unabomber. Truth be told, it is among the most gripping shows that I've seen in a long time (please take this with a pinch of salt - I don't really watch a lot of TV. Last thing I binged on was Narcos, about a year ago, if not more. But Manhunt is insane).

So, the show is about how the Behavioural Analysis Unit at the FBI works to catch the Unabomber. In the show, they show this rookie analyst that gets recruited to the team that has been hunting the bomber for some 15 years. And in the first episode itself, the rookie ruffles some egos. Of course, he is brilliant and all that (how else will you make an arc?). When this rookie analyst tells his seniors that all of them have been wrong and they need to start over, the boss tells him (and I quote),

"You are part of a world-class orchestra here. Lots of instruments, lots of virtuosos, and out of all of these players, I'm pointing to you, and I'm saying now is the time for your solo. Stand up, play your heart out so the whole world can hear you. But you got to play with the sheet music that I'm giving you. Because you may be a once-in-a-century talent, but if you can't harmonize with the rest of the orchestra, I'm gonna have to send you home."

Let's park this. Call it Exhibit A.

Exhibit B. Kapil Gupta.
Then I read this post on Kapil Gupta's blog. In the post, he talks about how as a creator you ought to create for self. He takes the example of a singer and invites her to sing for self. Perform for self. Tote your own path. For your sake. And not for validation. Or studios. Or any external accolades.

The point am trying to make?
As a unique individual that has his / her own voice and that exists to live a fulfilled life where you reach your full potential and maybe more, you would often come to this crossroads. Do you work for yourself? Or do you work under the boundaries drawn by others? How do you make a choice? Which path do you tread?

Wait.

Are you even aware that you have this choice?
Or, if I may use yet another line from Manhunt, are you a sheep? And "...because you're all sheep, because all you can do is obey..."...

Think.
Lemme know what conclusion you reach.
Sheep? No sheep?
Sing for yourself? For others?

Thank you for reading,
@saurabh
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Streak: 2

Tags: Creativity, Choice, Decision Making, Selfishness.

Further Reads

  • #SoG88 - I talked about the songs that we sing to self. No, not songs that we "perform" for self. But sing "to" self. Do read it.

  • Do see Whiplash if you haven't. The film is a beautiful example of how a young creative chooses to sing for self and defies the boundaries that are drawn by others.

  • See this post on Nitch where they quote King. He says, "You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid... You refuse to do it because you want to live longer... You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you, or shoot at you or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit."


PS: I got more email that a lot of other letters for the one that I sent yesterday. Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. It's a thing nonetheless!

PPS: Must start that series of posts where I write management lessons that you can learn from popular culture. What do you think?