Saturday, January 7, 2012

107. Commitment Device

"The best way to practice is by trying over and over again until you stop failing miserably." - Caleb Wojcik, Expert Enough

Commitment Device: a means with which to lock yourself into a course of action that you might not otherwise choose but that produces a desired result


The overriding and super-de-duper main important reason that I created this blog back in September was as a "COMMITMENT DEVICE" for my grad school preparation.

Second reason for blogging...it'd help me to connect with a supportive community of loved-ones and friends so I wouldn't feel so freakin' alone in this stretching-myself-in-the-pursuit-of-a-crazy-dream-ness.

Third reason for blogging...it scared the buh-jeezus out of me, the idea of committing myself to writing stuff that people would actually READ every day!

So I knew I HAD to go for it and do the blog, since it was something that frightened me. Because leaning into that fear...rather than shying away from it...would leave me with a feeling of ROCKSTAR-ishness...in that tippy-tapping-away-at-my-keyboard-blogging kind of way. And no, not because blogging is super cool...but because OVERCOMING YOUR FEAR is super cool.

Sooooo, I am going to continue to use this blog for its original purpose and publicly COMMIT to doing something that will help me overcome another fear: asking people if I can practice my monologues in front of them.

Non-actors may be thinking... "What's the big deal? You're an actor, Virginia. That's what you DO. Why would you be afraid of asking people to do your monologues in front of them? I'm sure they'd be fine with it."

Yeah, I'm sure THEY would be fine with it, but I get EMBARRASSED to put myself out there like that.

For example... imagine this awkwardness... You know that you reeeeeeally need to practice this monologue in order to be able to feel prepared for your grad school auditions...and reciting it alone in your room is NOT the same experience as speaking the words to another actual human and then reacting to what they're giving you in the moment... And you're sitting at lunch with a friend and you're talking about...I don't know... the weather...or whatever and then you pipe-in with, "Hey friend,...Was just wondering if you might be willing to do me a favor? I need to practice my monologues for grad school auditions. Would you mind if I did one of them for you right now...sitting here...in this restaurant...in public...where people can see and judge and the waitress might come by to fill your water glass as I get to the tearful part?"

PAUSE.

Ahhhhhhh! Does this sound like an awkwardly terrifying prospect to anyone else?

Potentially very embarrassing.

I want to practice my monologues and I want to have the courage to do what I need to do and not care how ridiculous I may end up sounding/looking/feeling, but how do I get over my resistance and fear!?

Here's what I like to ask myself in these types of moments (totally stole this from Tim Ferris BTW)...

"What are the worst case scenarios and how will you deal with them?"

Worst case scenario #1: My friend says YES
a. I do my monologue in front of her and she thinks it's terrible and tells me so to my face. I feel embarrassed.
b. I do my monologue in front of her and she thinks it's awesome and tells me so to my face. I feel embarrassed.
c. I do my monologue in front of her and the guy at the table next to us decides to chime-in with his opinion of my work. I feel angry. "Don't be rude and butt-in. I know this is a small restaurant, but at least pretend like you're paying attention to your soup and not to the conversation of the people at the table next to you. Be courteous."

Worst case scenario 2: My friend says NO
I feel a great sense of relief and then resolve to ask someone else to watch my monologues that day. Rejection is God's protection. (That's my new favorite phrase.) For whatever reason, my friend knows that they can't be an appropriate audience for me at this time. So I won't take it personally and I'll take the cue from the universe that there will be someone else out there to help me today...Or as I like to remind myself...Don't go to the hardware store looking for oranges.

Will I survive all of these worst case scenarios? Yes.

Are any of them that bad? No.

I feel like it helps to dis-empower the fears by actually writing them out.

Soooooo, anyway, I'm going to be writing a "P.S." about my experience doing this monologue practice thing every day until I my NYU audition on Jan 22.

PASSION!!! COMMITMENT!!! ACTION!!! That's what leads to success!

Right? Of course, right!

Loves,
V

P.S. Did a contemporary monologue for my friend B. We were sitting at a table in an Italian restaurant. It felt sooooo scary to ask him to be my monologue scene partner. But he was totally supportive and readily agreed. I directed the monologue straight to him. It started out a little wonky, but by the time I got rolling with it...it felt GREAT! I was sooooo happy to get to share the piece with him. He was very surprised by some of the dialogue and made some great faces in reaction to me. It was hilarious! Way fun! It definitely helped me feel less afraid of tackling that monologue in an odd situation again. YAY!

"Don't worry about how bad you do the first time. You learned to walk as a child by continually falling on your face trying to take your first steps. Life is the same way." - Caleb Wojcik, Expert Enough

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