This post originally appeared on Levo League.
It’s hard to let go of an old version of ourselves. We get stuck in habits and over time those habits become patterns that dictate what direction our life and career will go, unless we’re willing to make changes.
Looking at our lives with a magnifying glass and dissecting our day-to-day interactions with friends, colleagues, boyfriends, brothers, sisters, and parents, is hard to do. We often know that if we look too closely, we’ll see something we don’t like. Then, we’re faced with a decision: do we let go of an old version of ourselves, or do we grip on to it because it’s comfortable and what we know?
Enter “Hollywood’s anti-it girl,” Brit Marling. Marling was working at Goldman Sachs one summer during college, shuttling home from the office at 3 a.m., then crawling back into work in the early morning like every good Goldman intern does.
One weekend, a few of her friends convinced her to enter in to a 48-hour filmmaking contest for fun. After filming that weekend, she was hooked and decided to drop out of college and move to Cuba for a year to film Boxers and Ballerinas. After finishing the movie, her parents convinced her to finish college—she was valedictorian.
In 2011, Marling was recognized as the breakout actress at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for co-writing and staring in Another Earth and Sound of My Voice.
According to an article by The Daily Beast, theater was a constant theme in Marling’s life as a child; it was an anchor that she kept coming back to. Although her childhood passion was theater, studying economics in college and then pursuing a career in finance was the practical and safe route.
Studies show that we all suffer a creative slump around 7 years old. As our brains develop, we become better at impulse control and delaying gratification. We start to repress creative thoughts and suppress imagination. The development of our brain is like a leash that keeps us from being creative, and maybe even from becoming who we really are.
Marling started to write her own films so she could create the characters that she wanted in her films, nominated herself for the roles, and wrote scripts and then cast herself as the staring role. She didn’t wait to be chosen and wasn’t afraid to let go of her career in investment banking, because it didn’t align with her passion.
Each day when we wake up, we make the decision if we want to nominate ourselves. We decide if we want to write our script. If we don’t write our own script, we’re waiting to be chosen.
We all temporarily become someone who we think we should become. However, if we are fearless in navigating our career and tapping into our childhood passion, who knows what greatness can be achieved.