Do You Really Need Their Advice?

“All the advice you ever gave your partner is for you to hear.” -Byron Katie

“Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself, and wait for the answer in silence.” -Byron Katie

Before seeking advice from someone else, a useful exercise might be for you to flip the script…

Ask yourself the question, “If a friend or family member came to you seeking advice for the exact same situation, what advice would you give them?”

Take time to answer. Jot down as many ideas and thoughts as you can.

If you can’t can’t think of anything useful or it’s all a little murky, then you can probably use some outside counsel. Seek it out.

If you have clear, constructive advice to give someone else, then it might be wise to heed your own inner wisdom first.

“What Would You Do?”

If you’re seeking advice or feedback from someone, especially if it’s a trusted friend who knows specifically what you’re trying for, then one way to cut to the chase is to just point blank ask them…

“If you were me right now, what would you do?”

The response, even if it’s unexpected or seems out of left field, is usually the right course of action.

Bye Bye Misery

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. & great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. & even loved in spite of ourselves.” -Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Misery does indeed love company.

But instead of permanently being sucked down into the muck of misery…What if instead, you resolve to do everything you possibly can to not only get yourself out of the muck…But also, to then reach down and pull up your companions with you.

One by one. Working together. Helping each other through it.

Soon enough, there will be no one left. And misery will be all alone, by itself, where it belongs.

Bye bye misery.

P.S. – Speaking of bye bye’s, perhaps the greatest musical number ever captured on film.

Beliefs And Outcomes

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” -Richard Feynman

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” –Hamlet

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” -Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

“One of the biggest mistakes that I observed in the first year of my son Jack’s life or year or two of Jack’s life that I observed with parents is that they have this language around weather; weather being good or bad. Whenever it was raining, they’d be like, it’s bad weather. You’d hear moms, babysitters, dads talk about if it’s bad weather, we can’t go out or if it’s good weather, we can go out. So that means that somehow we’re externally reliant on conditions being perfect in order to be able to go out and have a good time. So Jack and I never missed a single storm. Every rain storm. I don’t think we’ve missed one storm, other than one maybe when he was sick. But I don’t think we’ve missed a single storm, rain or snow, going outside and romping in it. We developed this language around how beautiful it was.

So now whenever there’s a rainy day, Jack says, ‘Look, Da-Da. It’s such a beautiful rainy day.’ And we go out and we play in it. I wanted him to have this internal locus of control. To not be reliant on external conditions being just so.” -Josh Waitzkin, Chess champion, Muay-Thai champion, author, The Art Of Learning

What you believe directly affects your outcome.

How so?

Take two people. Each has their own distinct set of beliefs or worldviews.

The exact same event happens to both of them.

The outcome they ascribe to the event stems from the meaning they give it. The meaning they give it stems directly from their beliefs.

Or for you equation fans out there…

Outcome = Specific Event * Meaning

Meaning = Any Event * Belief

A story that perfectly encapsulates this point…

When Thomas Edison’s factory burned to the ground in 1914, destroying one-of-a-kind prototypes and causing countless millions in damage, Edison’s response was “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh again.”

The Bond Of Sacrifice

“Love is a bet, a wild one, placed on freedom. Not my own; the freedom of the Other.” -Octavio Paz, book The Double Flame

When you love someone or something, you sacrifice.

The more you sacrifice, the tighter the bond, the greater the love.

P.S. – Happy Memorial Day. Let us remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Remember, freedom isn’t free.

Ask Without Expectation

As I’ve repeatedly stated throughout this blog, when it comes to producing your passion project, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need.

If you’re not willing to take the emotional risk to ask, why should anyone help you? If it’s worth it, you’ll put yourself out there.

That being said, ask without expectation. Don’t be offended if people you thought would help, people you thought would say yes, don’t get back to you.

Assuming positive intent as well as having empathy for others and what they might be going through at the time, will allow you to not take their “No” or ghosting personally.

Let Them Help You

“The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous — [remember] that ultimately we make things happen through our actions, way beyond our understanding or intention; that our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences; that what we do in this world means something; that we are not nothing; and that our most quotidian human actions by their nature burst the seams of our intent and spill meaningfully and radically through time and space, changing everything… Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are replete with meaning, and of vast consequence, and… they constantly impact upon the unfolding story of the world, whether we know it or not.” -Nick Cave, letter to a fan, “The Red Hand Files”

If you sometimes find it hard to allow people to help you because you don’t want them to be bothered or inconvenienced. Or you think, “Everyone’s got their own troubles. The last thing they need is to hear mine.”

Realize a few things…

One…It takes tremendous strength, courage and vulnerability to ask for help or allow yourself to be helped. Be strong. Let the help in.

Two…People don’t offer to help if they don’t mean it. They mean it. Trust that.

Three…When you allow someone to help you, not only are you the recipient of a gift. But you give them a great gift as well. The gift of service. The gift of being there for someone else. The gift of love. Don’t deprive them of this gift.

Suffer Once

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” – William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“We suffer more often in imagination that in reality.” – Seneca

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain

The longer you procrastinate, the longer you suffer.

Do it now. Suffer once. If at all.

From my experience, the suffering from doing pales in comparison to the joy from completing.

Embrace The Mystery

“I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” -Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist and author

“You’ll never understand me, never.  I’m deeper than China.  Than a star.  If I wanted to, I couldn’t tell you who I am.  Or who you are, why you are, why Joey broke in two and you did not.  I’m a mystery you dumb son-of-a-bitch.  And I can’t explain a mystery because I’m not God and you can’t explain a mystery because you’re not God.  And that’s why I’m glad I’m a Catholic, cause it’s a mystery religion!” -Pop to Johnny in the play, Beggars In The House Of Plenty by John Patrick Shanley

The most fascinating acting always has a quality of mystery to us. Garbo, Brando, Olivier, Davis, Guinness—these actors provide us with a dazzling array of answers (they all do the eleven guideposts thoroughly every time they perform), but then they add that quality we cannot explain, that exploration in relationships of what is wondered at but not answered, perhaps cannot be answered. Think of some of the questions man has pondered since the beginning of his time on earth: What is love? Is there a god? Is there life after death? No matter how much science finds out, we never do know the answers to those questions, do we? They eternally remain mysteries to us. So it is with any relationship you create: No matter how much we know about the other person, there is always something going on in that other heart and that other head that we don’t know but can only ponder. And no matter how we explain ourselves to someone else, no matter how open we are, there is always still something inexplicable, something hidden and unknown in us, too.

I am suggesting you add to your audition this wonderment about the other person. I am suggesting you add, too, the wonderment about what is going on inside of you. These are feelings, mysterious feelings, that cannot be verbalized and cannot be explained. But they can be felt and therefore they can be added to your audition. -Michael Shurtleff from his book, Audition

You don’t need to know how the magician performed their trick.

You don’t need to know how to actor weaved their spell.

You don’t need to know how the director pulled off that shot.

You don’t need to know all the secrets of the universe.

It’s okay to not know all there is to know.

Just embrace the mystery. Allow for it. Open yourself up to it.

Cuz the mystery’s where all the fun is.

P.S. – Speaking of magic, this trick. Speaking of shots, this one.

The Producer’s Toolkit

You can accomplish just about anything if all you have are these three items in your toolkit…

TASTE. This takes time and you must constantly work to develop it. Focus on being specific over “good.”

TENACITY. Be relentless and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Remember, “No” is just the first word in any negotiation.

LOVE. Have deep love and enthusiasm for whatever you’re doing and convey that enthusiasm all the time.

P.S. – This article on the miraculous turnaround at Barnes & Noble is a clinic in what taste, tenacity and love can do.