A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

ACT THE PART




Sometimes you need to be hit over the head two or three times with a blunt something or other, before things really sink in. And that’s what has happened to me recently. The lesson I learned – or at least the lesson I had reinforced – is so potentially life-changing, that you’d be mad to the point of insanity, not to give it some serious thought.

Although I profess to be quite interested in the written word, to describe my knowledge of classical literature as patchy would I’m afraid, be embarrassingly flattering. And that’s a shame really, because there are some amazingly profound lessons to be learned through it. For example, just recently I came across one of the most widely known quotations from Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing (Yes, I did have to look that bit up) – one to which I’d given very little thought before…

“All the world is a stage and all 
the men and women in it, merely players.”

And it only resonated with me this time because of three other things that have happened to me recently.

The first is that I read a book by Derren Brown (a UK magician) called Tricks of The Mind. In one chapter, Brown discusses the subject of developing and displaying confidence. Now if you’ve ever seen Derren Brown perform, I think you’ll agree that he comes across as being supremely confident. And yet it wasn’t always like that, and indeed isn’t necessarily like that today.

You see, in his early life, Brown suffered from the same doubts and insecurities as most of the rest of us. So what made the difference? Well he discovered something very simple, and yet extraordinarily powerful… in order to become confident, you firstly have to act confident. And once you start to act in a confident manner, others begin to treat you as being confident, and guess what? You become confident because of the way other people are now treating you. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for you…

But if it doesn’t come naturally to you, you have to,

‘fake it before you can make it’.

The second thing that happened concerns one of the actors who feature in the movie Clubbed. Part of ‘the deal’ when you star in a film is that at some stage or other, you’re expected to help promote it. Now acting and promotion are two completely different things, which is why the cast of this film were booked in for a training session on how to present themselves in interviews.

Some of the cast were ‘naturals’, but one guy (I won’t say who to save his blushes) just isn’t comfortable with this sort of attention. Whilst he fully comes to life on screen, in private he’s a pretty quiet and unassuming guy. Perfectly fine qualities in a human being, but not so great when you’re trying to excite and enthuse other people about the film you’ve just made.

The lady running the course had seen all this before and knew exactly what to do. Instead of giving him a whole list of specific instructions which she knew he’d probably forget anyway, she gave him just one instruction…

Just imagine it’s a part, and you’re playing a successful movie star!

As soon as he ‘got it’… that he wasn’t being himself in these interviews, he was simply playing a part, just as he did every day of his working life, the transition was almost instantaneously made. He acted like a movie star, so people started to treat and react to him as though he was a movie star. And by now, you should know what happens next…

He’ll start to feel like a movie star, and that will 
affect how he behaves naturally...

But just like Derren Brown, he had to fake it before he could make it.

Thirdly now (and I saved the best till last), I (yes dear, sweet, little, old me) have recently found myself more and more in situations that demand I engage with people face to face and even have to speak publically, in front of people, people judging me, judging the way I look, the way I speak, the way I fluff my lines almost every time, oh alright then, every time dammit.

I used to sell insurance back in the early nineties (believe it or not, I have sold kitchens and cars as well, brand new shiny ones too), and the catchword of the day then was that people will buy into your enthusiasm. And guess what, to be enthusiastic, you act enthusiastic ‘cos enthusiasm sells right?

Notice any parallels yet? Is there a common theme being reinforced? Is there an ‘aha’ moment anywhere in here for you? 

Like I've already mentioned, I know there was one for me. It seems that the world is indeed a stage and we’re all the cast playing our parts on it. And the great news is, is that we get to choose the parts we play. Nobody else chooses those parts for us. And if we play the part well, the world demands and dictates that we play it again and again for life.

But I must warn you, it works both ways. Choose a lousy part for yourself – and if you don’t apply any conscious effort and thought to this, you probably will do – and that’s going to be the part the world will allocate to you too.

So, once you realise that you become what you present yourself as being, it’s a tremendously enlightening and empowering moment, because it’s then that you know that your fate and fortunes lay entirely in your own hands. But it can also be a frightening moment too, because every excuse you ever had for not being where and what you want to be is stripped away from you in an instant. And you probably already know, there’s a lot of comfort to be had in those excuses.




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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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