Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Enemy Named Disappointment

Disappointment sucks.

It's just the worst, and the higher your expectations, and the more excited you are about something, the harder the fall of disappointment.

The more JOY you're investing, the more GRIEF from the disappointment.

Now, I've heard that "attachment to results is the main cause of suffering", but that's for another post.

For right now, here's what I wanted to tell you:

Get excited anyway.


Get joyous anyway.

You see, it's really easy to dampen your hopes, to play down your enthusiasm, and to mute your excitement just to protect yourself from the soul-crushing, rug-pulling, embarrassment of disappointment.

You get news about something great, but you STOP YOURSELF from getting too excited, or too hopeful, because it's possible that it might not work out the way you want it to.

So, you ROB YOURSELF of the joy instead... BEFORE disappointment gets it's chance.

And that means Disappointment has won. It has beaten you because you bring it along with you and do it's work for it.

And the worst part- is that sometimes, because youve muted your excitement so much, you actually bring about the unwanted results, and get disappointed.

And it grows in strength for the next time.

ow, about the "attachment to results" thing, this is kinda true.

Because there's a difference between getting excited, and hanging all of your hopes on a single, particular result.


I went with some friends to a Phish concert, after not having heard them live in a while, and the discussion came to what songs we wanted to hear.

One of my friends absolutely HAD to hear something, and was going to be disappointed if he didn't. Another really hoped they did NOT play something else. When it came to my turn, I really and sincerely couldn't be disappointed. I was just glad that I was going, and whatever they played would be great.... even Guelah Papyrus, which is my least favorite song.

But in truth, I haven't heard it in so long, I might actually enjoy it!

Anyway, this has not been one of my most fluid posts (kinda disappointed in it!), but you get the point.

The next time you feel yourself trying to avoid disappointment, remember that it means it has already won!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

This Is Genius - And so are You!

This is Genius- a spoken word poem with a simply directed video tells a pretty cool story:






The question is how far should we take that? We do need some basic education that we can all agree with, but how much of it? And where can we start to divide the herd... and how?




What do YOU think?



This Is Genius - YouTube

Friday, March 06, 2015

How NOT To Talk To An Actor

You're probably expecting some list of "Do it this way..." or "That was nice, but I wish you had.."

But this post is not about that at all. I just wanted you to know.

I recently became a parent, and so I've been reading all sorts of articles, books, and blogs about how to be a better one.

Some people think that's dumb.

But for me, I've noticed that anything I excel in- and it is a great many things- I have done well not because I follow other people's advice, but because I get enough advice that I get to CHOOSE from the options.
In other words, if I just go with what I know, then my choices are limited.

Also, by being a "generalist", I get to incorporate ideas from all sorts of places, and allow my brain to make connections....

I'll get to where ACTORS come into this in a minute, and it's not what you think.

So the other day, I read an article called How Not To Talk To Your Children, and it was all about the random, unfettered praise some people give their kids. Not in the "You're making kids soft" way, I mean the stuff that EVERYONE thinks is a good idea:

Like saying "You're smart!"

I mean, who can argue with that, right?

Well, it turns out that telling kids they are Smart after they do something means that the only way for them to go from there is DUMB.

So many people avoid trying anything they know they won't succeed at.

This is VERY true.

I swear, I'm getting to actors... just hold on!

In my life, I was labeled smart pretty early, and in Junior High school, I was in the "Special Progress" class, and we were kinda isolated from the rest of the school... whom we all knew were dummies. Not our fault- it was kind of an understood thing among us.

Then I went to The Bronx High School Of Science, where being "smart" was the pre-requisite for admission.

I've been around the label "smart" for a long time.

Anyway, I can say with absolute confidence that many of the people I know are PETRIFIED of being "found out" as NOT being as smart as they are assumed to be.

Myself included.

Do you see where I'm going yet with Acting?

So, the study goes on to show how these kids who are labeled "smart" and praised as "smart" when they get a simple test correct are DE-MOTIVATED from trying anything that may be a challenge for them.

However, kids who are praised for their EFFORT are not only emotionally boosted, they are MOTIVATED to try a harder task. You see, we all like praise, so if we can get it through trying something HARD we'll get it.
NOW comes the acting part.

For Actors, this is a one-two punch.

Everyone says that the acting business is tough, and we actors are constantly praised by other people for "trying to be an actor", and "good for you!" for going for our dreams, and blah, blah, blah. And if we're not being as successful as Tom Hanks, then "at least we're trying".

So we get praised for that.

Then there's when we actually do perform... we get APPLAUSE.  I mean, for someone who is feeling unworthy of attention (an almost cliche trait of an actor), that mass praising is an addictive, irresistible drug.

But then- the praise that probably harms and destroys more careers than any is:
"You're so talented"
Talent may kill your career
Because now- we should be rich and famous actors based on our TALENT as opposed to because we WORKED hard at it.

And I don't just mean a performance, I mean being in the business.

Kind of like "If you're talented, you don't need to promote yourself- your TALENT will make you stand out" kind of idea.

It even works to REMOVE our pride when we DO get a job because as we know- "Only the talentless actually WORK" becase they are "promoting", and "networking", and doing whatever "FALSE" things they have to do because their TALENT didn't get them there.

Do you understand what I'm saying here?

Believing in your "TALENT" might be exactly what will prevent you from using it!

"Unrecognized Genius" is a cliche, and the more UNrecognized we can be- then the MORE genius we must have, right?

So, aside from the praise- it's easier to be "Talented", but never be in a position to have that questioned.

From my own life, I am MUCH more attracted to parts that I feel are "within my wheelhouse" of skills. Now, of course that's a good business strategy in general (Tom Hanks will NEVER play an action hero vigilante), but maybe I'm also trying to avoid being BAD and "untalented" in my performances.

Fortunately, I've realized that it's always best to be the WORST in any group, so you can learn the most. How do we teach this to younger kids though? Especially those who show a "Talent" for something....

What about you?

Did this make sense to anyone else, or did I connect too many ideas?

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