Suspend your disbelief (anything can happen)

I am a master at suspending my disbelief.

If you're not sure what that is, it's a common term used in literature and theatre which basically means that you as a reader/audience member consciously set aside your knowledge that what is happening in front of you isn't real. I like the word "suspend" because it makes me think of my disbelief as some sort of acrobat, high in the ceiling of my mind, swinging around on a rope and not allowed to come down until I say so.

If you read a book, watch a movie, or see a play, you will be called on to suspend your disbelief. The better you are at it, the more you will enjoy the thing playing out in front of you. Have you ever been to a movie with that person? You know the one I'm talking about. The guy who leans over and whispers, "That's impossible" after a particularly awesome stunt. The chick who says, "No way" when it's revealed that the main character has the exact right tool/skill/key to get past the final fight and win.

Those people suck. Sometimes I am that person. I suck when I am. (But seriously Fast and Furious 7? No way you can fly cars out of the back of an airplane and parachute to land in exactly the right spot on a road.)


Here's my point: I think that not only will you enjoy movies/books/theatre more if you get better at suspending disbelief, but you will enjoy life more too.

Suspending disbelief is really just another way of saying "having faith". You have faith that the writer knows what she's doing and isn't going to deliver a ridiculously unrealistic story. Whether you believe in God or not, having faith in life is an important part of being happy, and I think it's part of the reason writers have such lofty dreams for our work.

Writers are really good at suspending their disbelief.

We know the statistics; we see the numbers. We know that it's hard as hell to get an agent, and even harder still to get a publisher. Once our book actually gets printed and delivered to the world, we know that it's joining the ranks of hundreds of thousands of other new books. That means it'll be hard as hell for us to sell it to anyone but our mom and dad and closest friends.


But we still believe it'll succeed because our disbelief is up there flying around in the trapeze of our minds, and it's not allowed to come down until we achieve our goals.

I think that's beautiful.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, I hope you'll try this. Try actively putting your disbelief on a swing and sending it high into the sky. Let it hang there for a while. It'll survive. While it's up there, think about what you want and what you could achieve if there was no voice telling you it was impossible.

Suspend your disbelief. Anything can happen.