YOU CAN USE YOUR ILLUSION
Thirty years ago this summer, Guns N' Roses was preparing to release their 3rd and 4th studio album Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II. I was just starting 8th grade, feeling good in my Express lycra sets purchased with my corn detasseling money, was switching from the oboe to the bassoon in the junior high band, and I remember my cousin, Becky, scoring the CD from her local record store. I was more of a P.M. Dawn and Crystal Waters fan at the time but enjoyed some GnR on occasion (LOL). It was a great year for music with Heavy D, R.E.M, Metallica, Nirvana, Jesus Jones, and D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince all cranking through my mom's Buick.
But Use Your Illusion is one that's been on my mind a lot this summer as I work to take in the rapidly changing world. It all started when I heard an entrepreneur say "I don't have time". To have limited time is a common reality for entrepreneurs (and all humans), but our understanding of how we control our time is what matters. "I don't have" indicates a lacking instead of statements like "that's not a priority for me" or "I can't bring myself to do that right now" or even more bold "I choose not to spend my time doing that". All indicate self-awareness and choice. It might seem like a small shift, but ultimately our thoughts shape our realities and we have a responsibility to reflect on where we feed our illusions and where we challenge them. Without challenging the common narrative of thinking, we perpetuate the lack so persistent in our current mode of work.
Then I realized, with a little help from GnR's Locomotive, that's the thing about illusions, we use them to take us where we need to go and have a really hard time letting them die. Oftentimes we have spent so much time, energy, and emotions building up our illusions that we become resentful when someone challenges us to look through them to a different experience of reality. From Locomotive:
You can use your illusion
Let it take you where it may
We live and learn
And then sometimes it's best to walk away
Me I'm just here hangin' on
It's my only place to stay at least
For now anyway
I've worked too hard for my illusions
Just to throw them all away
Illusions are rampant in the entrepreneurial community from the creator economy, to the rise of the girlboss, to Jeff Bezos thanking his employees and customers for making his spaceflight possible. Yesterday, while watching a Godaddy commercial I was reminded of how innocently it begins. This idea that throwing up a website is all it takes to make it happen. It's all so intoxicating like the fossil-fuel smell of a new car.