Busy lives and quick fixes

The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others.    WAYNE MULLER

 When I found this quote I really got something at a new level.  Why, I’ve been asking myself, do I find more and more young actors so arrogant in how they address me, my colleagues and other industry experts “of a certain age?”  How could they think it appropriate to say “I need you to” or “Call me back today” in their first contact with us?  How do they not know that they need us more than we need them?  How is it possible they believe themselves to be more worthy than the thousands of other actors who have come before? 

I’ve always maintained that people love Facebook because it makes them feel like they are in People magazine where every move they make, every bar they go to, every person they’re hanging out with and, most importantly, what they are wearing is fully documented. 

But now I have a new context for it.

The faster our lives go, the more options we have, the more there is an increasing desire for the quick fix.  Give me a short-term workshop and let me pay a fortune for it because then I will have “gotten it.”  Give me an uber-inspirational weekend workshop where I am taken through a series of strong emotions that make me “feel” like something important has happened – so I can tell my friends on Facebook that I did this amazing thing but don’t ask me to look at myself later to see if any substantive improvement really occurred.  Don’t ask me to accomplish something substantial.

 The very sad thing many for actors is that this busy-ness of the present age means that these temporary highs are going to be followed by a palpable hollowness and terrific emotional lows.  An aware individual might feel how ineffective and how unchanged they remain after participating in those costly inspirational workshops.  But most will shield themselves from experiencing these painful feelings by signing up for more quick fixes that will distract them from the emptiness of the last quick fix.

So some advice:  take the time to be fully present, participate in a longer term of study where real improvement can be made, commit oneself fully to mastering something before moving on to something else.  These are the experiences that will nurture you for the rest of your life.

And after you have gone through what it really takes to become a master at something, you will be humbled.