Tuesday 17 September 2019

The importance of dying on stage and why we all need to fail in order to succeed

Sophie White: Focus on the real and tangible.
Sophie White: Focus on the real and tangible.

Sophie White

I'm having epiphanies all over the place. However, as it is not the final summing-up column, I will refrain from blowing my epiphany load prematurely; instead, here's an update on my efforts in terms of data and then my very subjective perspective of that data that, in turn, kind of ignores the data. You see, I've realised that regardless of the nuanced reality of a situation, I will always focus on the negative.

This week has completely crystallised something for me: it is possible to break a pattern of negative thinking. In the last month, I have performed at three comedy clubs. The first time went very well. It was the perfect moment and I fell in love with that feeling. The second night did not go as well and I went into a complete funk about it. Where's the perfect moment gone?

While I dubbed the evening a disaster, data suggested otherwise: a well-known comedian who had been in the audience actually spoke to me afterwards and had words of encouragement. I ignored this and continued to focus on the lacklustre audience and perceived failure. Because that's where I took it: from perfection to failure in two shows.

Between my second and third gig, I thought about my life to date and about how I have talked myself out of taking chances and talked myself into feeling like a failure repeatedly.

I went to my third gig alone. I laughed and clapped the other acts. I hopped up on stage and did my stuff and went home after the last slot. My husband waited up for me and asked how it went. I thought back to that stage in front of maybe 20 people. I skimmed over the stony-faced bitches from whom I could not raise so much as a smile and focused instead on the guys shaking their heads and laughing, and another giggling at my impression of my husband's orgasm noise.

"You know what? I wasn't the best but I wasn't the worst." If I was in an American therapy session, we'd be referring to this as a breakthrough.

TIP: Focus on what's real and tangible. Not perceived failure.

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