Could I interest you in some thoughts? Some of these nuggets are polished, while others, are pretty raw and unfiltered. I hope they encourage, inspire, and make you think. Please, leave a comment, and turn these posts into an active discussion.
Perfection is a killer. Well, trying to be perfect is a killer. Well, trying to be perfect, and failing is a killer. Well, let me try that one last time. Trying to be perfect, failing, and telling yourself: you are a failure is a killer.
I think like that way more than I would like to admit. That realization slapped me in the face today. Not that I think that, but how frequently I think on those “I am a failure,” terms. Can we discuss this? Would you like to discuss this with me?
Here are my thoughts on this situation. Here’s what hit me this morning. If it helps you, fantastic!
First, I think we can all agree, even me, the ‘perfection or failure’ system is a ridiculous way be consumed! And, we all know ‘consumed’ is the perfect word. The attempt to be perfect consumes as much as the inevitable failure consumes. “Don’t mess up, don’t mess up, don’t mess up,” is as consuming as “I messed up, I messed up, I messed up.” I mean, it’s a damned brain if you do, and a damned brain if you don’t.
(I know this is a blog about improv comedy. Watch as I deftly weave this back towards the improv comedy world…)
Did you know this can massacre your improv progress? Of course you did! You’re smart. It kills your education, your performance, and your post show notes. Taking a class, a chance to learn and be open, becomes a mission to look good, and knowledgeable. A performance, a chance to develop and create with your team, becomes a tightrope walk, trying to avoid things that might upset “the great scene.” The post show notes…well…you get the idea. During notes, a connection designed to help everyone, becomes a frightening, “fuck! I can’t do anything right. Why do I even bother with teen improv” moment.
When we could absorb new ideas, charge into the unknown with our scene partners, and embrace the note, because it all exists to make us better, we think, “this is already the best. This is perfect. Improve? Improve what? Oh. That is a good point. I don’t do that. I didn’t do that. Do I ever do that? God I’m bad. I failed. I’m a failure. Well, I’m gonna go drive home and think about how I’m a failure.”
Yikes. This is bad. Can we agree this is really bad? I mean, you and I could be great, if we relax, breathe into the moment, and see what we can develop with what we have. Instead, we sometimes focus on the what we aren’t, what we don’t have, and what we will never be or never was. That’s a frightening spiral.
Could we nip this spiral in the bud? If there’s no perfect, could we let go of seeing ourselves as a failure? If we wanted to logic our way out of this, we could look back on a memory we recall as “perfect.” We could dissect this moment, examine it as close as possible, and not stop until we find 3 things that were not perfect. Inevitably, if we look close enough, we’ll find something that wasn’t 100% perfect? Right?
Why am I even asking the question? Of course, we’ll find a hiccup* in the mix.
Might this shatter our illusion of the perfect moment? At least, it’s a reminder. Maybe enough reminders can help us let go of ‘perfect.’
I don’t know. This is a pretty imperfect post, but I’m going to leave it as is, before I nitpick it to ‘perfect.’ I might gain something by doing that, and I’d definitely lose something too.
*I used ‘hiccup’ as a negative. in actuality, I think hiccups are pretty hilarious and wonderful. which, funny enough, I think hiccups are pretty hilarious and perfect. Wait a second, could we say perfection is subjective? Nailed it!)