Tuesday, June 7, 2011
I think success might be the most restrictive thing out there.
Strange? Yes. True? Yes. It took a long time to extract myself from the constraints of success. I was previously not a juggernaut, by any means, but I felt a good amount of success in terms of work, improv/talk show, freelancing, etc. People would seek me out for things (which is totally foreign to me now). I was happy with how much I had going for me. I had also been doing those things for awhile, so I knew most of what was going on in those endeavors.
All of those things were great, but also worked as constraints in a sense. I really liked being the guy who knew things. I really liked being successful. However, the flip side of success and of being the guy who knows things is that you have to work to protect your status as the guy who knows things. You have to stress about protecting your sense of self you found in success. Success is inherently temporary, which means it can go away. I spent too much energy working to make sure it didn’t.
I was in improv class yesterday. The teacher’s style is to stop you in your scene to ask you what you are thinking, or where you are going with your choices, or asking if you are playing this true to life. Then, when the scene is completed he will critique you, or offer suggestions for making it better.
You can’t be a student when you’re the guy who knows things.
You can’t learn if you’re not willing to be a student.
You can’t grow if you’re not willing to learn.
Now, in my success free world, I’m loving it. It’s freeing. Success deals in ends. Enjoyment deals in means. This is what I admire most in the actor’s I’ve met out here. Even very successful actors are still in classes learning. In my experience, the arrogant, superficial, stereotype is false. Mostly, it’s people who are ego-less, who are willing to put themselves in the role of student. They’re willing to say they have a lot to learn.
I like that.
I want to be like that.