Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

I need to get bug spray. Both of my ankles are surrounded by 360 degrees of bug bites. I’m taking it as a compliment. I’ve got some sexy ankles. Everyone wants a piece. Come get some, bitches.

Boy, life is good right now. I’ve been finding my groove out here in all sorts of different ways. My perspective on performing has completely changed. I used to get really worked up and nervous before I went on stage, and I think part of it was that I felt like it was something I had to do instead of something I choose to do. I don’t have to go on stage. But I want to, and fully understanding that has taken so much of the pressure away.

I’m also viewing each mic or show as a challenge. Yesterday, I went to do an open mic at the Creek and the Cave, and it was nothing short of horrendous. The room was like a deflated balloon: depressing to look at and completely uninspiring. Everyone bombed. Bad. Comic after comic went up and nothing more than an occasional chuckle was heard. “This is gonna suck,” was the consensus vibe from each comedian who was insane enough to try and perform in this god forsaken scenario.

For some reason, I decided to start looking at it as a strategy game. I asked myself, “alright, how am I going to make someone here laugh? How am I going to make this work?” I was standing behind the stage listening to the comic before me perform to deafening silence, and I clenched up for a second.  I thought “fuck, this is gonna suck.” But then I told myself no. I decided to stand up straight and say “you’re gonna murder. You’re gonna go out there and make these people laugh, because you’re the best. You’re so fucking good.”  Now, in reality, I’m not that good. I’m not anywhere near the best for corn’s sake, but in this moment I thought the best strategy was to make myself believe that I really was the best.

“Convince the audience it’s funny,” has been a quote that’s stuck with me. It’s hard, but convincing myself I’m funny has been even more of a challenge. Yesterday, in this brief moment before hopping on stage, I was committed to convincing. What’s the worst that could happen? I would just bomb like everyone else. Well son of a tater tot, it worked. I actually got laughs. A good amount of them. One comedian name Derrick was laughing uncontrollably almost the entire time to where I had to stop in the middle of a joke and say, “Derrick, I love you so much right now.”

I used to be so afraid of these types of mics. But an audience can smell fear. It’s simply not an option. It’s okay to be nervous but if you’re visibly afraid while on stage, it’s over. Right from the start, it’s over. That’s it. You’re done. Something that’s really helped me change my perspective are two books I’ve read. One is “The Obstacle is the Way,” and the other is “The Comfort Crisis.” I’ve talked a little about them before, but the basic thesis of both is that in order to achieve a better, happier, stronger existence, we have to challenge ourselves. We have to seek out things that are extremely difficult.

And that’s exactly what a dead room at an open mic is. It’s a monumental task to make a group of people who don’t want to be there anymore laugh. It’s the ultimate obstacle. But that’s all it is. An obstacle. And obstacles are meant to be overcome. An obstacle is nothing more than an opportunity.

Yay, perspective change! Find the most difficult thing in your life and conquer that shit! Woop woop! Yea! My name’s been Tony Robbins, thank you all for coming.

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