Jun 1, 2013


“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”  Stephen Pressfield

I recently revisited a great book by Stephen Pressfield called "The War of Art" and in this book he talks about ways to overcome "resistance" or excuses, and rationalizations of why we shouldn't do something. My main problem is procrastination. I've been attempting to do stand up at an open mic one of the bars here has every month and every month I keep saying "there's always next time."

 I reread the book and the quote at the top really spoke to me. Fear, was preventing me from going on stage. Not because I'm afraid of talking into a mic in front of people, but the self doubt of "is my material good enough?" If I didn't care so much about comedy would I be as afraid? I'm not saying that I'll be a great stand up comedian, and I've come to accept that I will most likely spend many many years bombing before I become competent if I ever do. But I must do it. Why? Because it is the most terrifying thing I can imagine.

I haven't gone on stage yet. Mainly because the open mic night is only once a month, and there are no comedy clubs nearby. More excuses? More fear? Absolutely. The difference is my mentality.

 "you don't know my mentality bro! I can't lose because of my mentality! You don't know my mentality!"

I no longer view fear as an enemy but as a friend. We are no longer listed as "it's complicated" on facebook. And whether or not I succeed, I will be able to say I gave it my best shot. 

As always you can find me on Twitter @DeRexBowles, and feel free to tell me how much you love me. It's okay I understand.  And feel free to pop down to the comments below and share your own experiences.


nothingprofound said...

My wife is a singer and performer who has terrible stage fright. She gets terrified before every gig, but doesn't let that stop her. The benefits of performing and sharing her musical talents outweighs all the nervousness and anxiety she feels. When I was coaching gymnastics, I used to ask the girls: "How many times did you fail today? Fail to get your kip, your back handspring, your giant swing? Fifty? A hundred? Next time, I want you to fail two hundred times?" The important thing, Derek, is just to get started and see where it goes from there.

Helena Fortissima said...

Best of luck to you, Derek. Have you considered videotaping yourself doing a stand up routine, and posting it here on BC? Maybe that would help with your insecurity. My cousin in Toronto does stand up on the side, and she's really digging it. My attitude toward fear is "you never know until you try." Don't let it hold you back!

The Mind of Derek Bowles