I was watching a biography of one of my favorite comedians, Eddie Izzard, the other day. I love his work, his intelligence and his ability to create his own boundaries. That is what so often makes his humor humorous. He gets us thinking about something and then expands the boundaries to include something completely unexpected.
For example, he does a bit about being raised by wolves. However, when the wolves chase other animals he was always falling behind. His answer – he started driving a little red car. Soon he had the other wolves riding along with him. As he says, it was a hatchback so it was roomy!
What he did was create a world that has us thinking…wolves, woods, fields, animals…and then introduces a whole new set of rules that we aren’t expecting. His story just assumes that he had the ability to get a car, to drive a car and to convince the other wolves to get in the car. Probably not thoughts you included when you hear the start of the story.
What was really interesting was how this thinking parallels Eddie’s real life. I’ve only known him as a successful performer. My mind has the idea that he’s always been this way. But as the biography showed, he was very different when he started out. He was different personally and comedically. One of the people interviewed discussed how at that stage Eddie “hadn’t really figured out who he was.”
But that all changed. Eddie figured out who he was. In some ways he became more of himself and in others he changed the rules. In some instances both. He decided he would stop hiding the fact that he was a transvestite and embrace it. He was both truer to himself and breaking social rules. After awhile he decided that to really be big he needed to be like a rock star, so he changed his look, his attitude and his show to be like a rock star. And it worked.
Eddie decided to be who he wanted to be, both as a boy raised by wolves and in real life. He didn’t let conventional rules and limited views restrict him.
How often do you think “this is who I am, I can’t be anyone else?” But that’s not really true. You have the ability to change, to be who you want to be. What assumptions are you making about your life that may not be accurate? Where can a new perspective or listening to the observations of others help you to see new options for your life? Maybe it is time for you to find a little red car to drive and be who you want to be.