Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“Life is about courage and going into the unknown.” Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

The movie is a celebration of the wonderful diversity of people and places on Earth, and pursuing ideas with courage, even if most of the pursuit by Mitty is in his imagination.

It is based on a story by James Thurber (by the way, he hated the 1947 movie version, according to Turner Classic Movies), who said:

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

Ben Stiller stars in and directs this version, which a writer summarizes as being about “an ordinary man with an extraordinarily active imagination” who embarks “on a globe-trotting adventure that ultimately trumps anything in his daydreams.”

That adventure involves many challenges and demands for a much higher level of courage than Mitty needed in his office job.

Stiller comments about his own choices as well as the story:

“At a certain point, you want to be taking chances. That’s when you’re having the most vital experiences.”

In another interview, Stiller makes an interesting comment about creative expression:“This movie relates to me personally. It’s where I am in my life right now. When you’re in the world of creating things you’re constantly trying to get somewhere where you haven’t been. And that’s the dilemma Walter faces.”

Robert Maurer, PhD, a UCLA clinical psychologist, has interviewed many successful actors, writers and other creative people, and researched social and neuropsychological aspects of achievement and creative expression for many years.

He comments about fear: “If you find the right relationship, does fear go away? No. You publish your first novel, does that make fear go away? No. So your skill at being able to nourish yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them is your single greatest attribute as an artist and as a human being.”

“Fear is good. We view fear as a disease. It’s not a disease.”

Eric Maisel, PhD warns, “Only a small percentage of creative people work as often or as deeply as, by all rights, they might be expected to work. What stops them? Anxiety or some face of anxiety like doubt, worry, or fear.”

See longer article with many more quotes, a short video clip, and resource links:

Living and Creating: Fear Is Not A Disease

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