Is the performance mentality a recipe for disaster?

Matteson Perry sent me an email:

Dan Kennedy tweeted this article (How To Make A Living Playing Music: By Danny Barnes) and said "replace musician with writer". Also works if you replace "musician" with "comedian".

The article is a good read. And I thought this part was interesting...

i. avoid the performance mentality. i know this sounds ridiculous in a performance based industry. but think about this. here is a recipe for disaster.
my value = my performance + other people’s opinions. 
the reason why, is that someday, you are going to have an off day and/or someone is going to criticize you. if you put your value in the world like that, you are going to have a bad time of it. i speak from experience. i only learned this at the age of 46. finding my true value fixed this for me. [write me if you want to know what it is.] but establish your value outside of how well you did on the gig and what the papers said about you. otherwise you are going to be miserable and you are going to make everyone else miserable. somedays you play better than others. this doesn’t make you a great person. somedays you make lots of errors, this doesn’t make you a bad person.

...especially after watching Jon Stewart talk about people's reactions — "the reaction is not necessarily the barometer of the quality of something" — in this part of his Oprah interview.

If something is out of your control, don't worry about it. And that's why it's better to focus on process than results. Seems pretty Zen.

But then there's a little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying comedy is all about results. If they're not laughing, you're not doing your job.

1 comment:

Abbi Crutchfield said...

For what it's worth, I make ONE small goal with each performance (have fun, try a new tag line, be present in the moment, use the space around you), so that afterwards I always feel like I accomplished something. I am still aware of what needs improvement, but I don't dwell on it to the point of missing anything good about the set. "Crap! I forgot to tell that joke the new way I wrote it. But I said I wouldn't rush the pacing of the set, and tonight I didn't."

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