“Somebody Should Do Something”

“Somebody should do something.”

The next time you find yourself thinking or saying those words out loud, realize that YOU are that somebody.

Uncle Ben was close, but it’s actually the other way around….With great responsibility comes great power.

Step up. Make it happen. Make your art. Make the world a better place.

What’s My Dream And My Dream Response?

For the actor…

When working on a role, know what your character’s dream is. Assume the other characters all know what that dream is and want it desperately for you too. That way when you don’t get what you want and you don’t hear the dream response to your line, you will fight even harder.

This leads to conflict which gets you out of your head and on to the other person. Which then leads to riveting and alive acting.

Mission Possible

“The play’s the thing.” -Shakespeare, Hamlet

It’s not about you.

It’s about the work, the work, the work.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is simply to avail yourself to the work at all times. Ask yourself where best can you fit in? How can you serve the piece? Be a medium. Channel the artistic forces that swirl all around. Strive for excellence and generosity.

And then get out of the way.

P.S. – This message will self destruct in five seconds.

Stagnation

“Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.” -Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu (Stephen Mitchell translation)

“Be like water my friend.” -Bruce Lee

Take the most amazing, miraculous, purest element in the world–water–yet remove it’s ability to flow, and it too will eventually rot.

Gotta move. Action. Action. Action.

Earn This

Towards the very end of the movie “Saving Private Ryan”, Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks) who’s about to die, tells the young Private James Ryan (played by Matt Damon) to “Earn This…Earn it.”

Make no mistake, we’re here because of the sacrifices so many people made that came before us. In some cases, with their lives. As well as the sacrifices that people make today, day in, day out with no attention, thanks or praise.

To honor all those sacrifices, let us earn this next day, this next hour, this next minute, this next second.

Earn this. Earn it.

Go The F*ck To Sleep

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” -Ernest Hemingway

“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama

Put away the ice cream, turn off the television and the phone and go the f*ck to sleep.

And when you wake up in the morning, read this excellent article from Ryan Holiday on why you should prioritize sleep. There’s no better performance booster and mood enhancer than getting a good night’s rest.

Peaks & Valleys

“For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.” -Alan Watts

Life is not a flatline. It’s peaks and valleys. Realize wherever you are now is just a snapshot, a moment in time. It’s ephemeral. We think we’d like to know what lies ahead so that we can adequately prepare for good times or bad. For the peaks and valleys. But where’s the fun in that?

The fact that every day, every single moment is different?….“Yea, that’s the ticket!”

Lean into not knowing.

More Than A Feeling

“It’s more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)” -Boston, “More Than A Feeling”

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.” -Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

My favorite definition of love comes from Saint Thomas Aquinas: “Love is to will the good of the other, as other.”

Love is more than a feeling that comes and goes like the wind. It is a decision. A choice. An act. A verb. You will something to happen. In the case of love, you are willing a good outcome for someone else. Not for what they can do for you. Just for simply being who they are.

One way to love is to make your art. To look deep inside, figure out what you’re passionate about and commit to expressing that passion with excellence and generosity throughout. When you do that, we as the audience are the grateful recipients of your will. Of your love. We are “consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.”

Fast Or Slow

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

When it comes to making your art, either go fast or go slow. Nothing in between will do.

When you go fast, you’ve got energy on your side. You don’t have time to think and the subconscious takes over. It might be a mess, but there’s a good chance of capturing some magic. Producing something memorable. Kerouac’s “On The Road” comes to mind.

When you go slow, you can take your time and perfect every moment. Get it to exactly where you want it to be. Maybe even exceed your expectations. Produce a new masterpiece. A stone cold classic.

There’s a story about the famous theatre director Jerzy Grotowski who wanted nine months to rehearse a production prior to opening. The producers told him no way, they just didn’t have the budget for that long a rehearsal process.

Grotowski answered back, “Okay. Give me the weekend.”

Circumstances

So many of the greatest books ever written from the Bible to “Meditations” to “War And Peace” to “Man’s Search For Meaning” share a common theme. That is: we can’t control our circumstances, we can only control our response.

If that’s true, shouldn’t we spend far less time insulating or distracting ourselves from circumstances? And far more time training ourselves to be ready for them? That way, when adversity hits–and it will–we can be proud of how we responded. How we kept our cool. How we helped. How we loved. How we made a difference.