Sometimes in life, you need to be hit over the head two or three times with a blunt something or other, before things can really sink in.
And that’s just what has happened to me recently. The lesson I learned – or at least the lesson I already knew but had had it strongly reinforced at the time – is so potentially life-changing, that you’d be mad to the point of insanity, not to give it some serious thought.
Although I profess to be quite interested in the written word and can often be seen trying to prove it quite badly here on this blog, to describe my knowledge of classical literature as ‘somewhat patchy’ would I’m afraid, be quite correct and to my shame perhaps, embarrassingly flattering.
And that’s a pity really, because there are some amazingly profound lessons to be learned through classical literature. For example, just recently I came across one of the most widely known quotations from Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ (Yes, I did have to look that bit up) – one to which I’d given very little thought before…
“All the world is a stage and all the men and women in it, merely players.”
And it only really resonated with me this time because of three other things that have happened to me recently…
The first was I just finished reading a book by Derren Brown (a UK magician) called ‘Tricks of The Mind’. In one chapter, our boy Brown discusses the subject of developing and displaying confidence.
Now if you’ve ever seen Derren Brown perform, I think you’ll agree that he comes across as being at the very least, a supremely confident chap. And yet it wasn’t always like that for him it seems, and indeed it isn’t necessarily like that today either.
You see, in his early life, Derren suffered from the same silly doubts and insecurities as most of the rest of us do. So what made the difference?
Well he discovered something very simple, and yet extraordinarily powerful… in order to become confident, you firstly have to act confident. And once you start to act in a confident manner, others begin to treat you as being a bit of a confident so and so, and guess what? You eventually become a confident so and so because of the way other people are now treating you.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for you…
But if it doesn’t come naturally to you, you have to, ‘fake it before you can make it’.
The second thing that happened concerns one of the actors who featured in a full length feature movie.
Part of ‘the deal’ when you star in any film these days, is that at some stage or other, you’re expected to help promote it further down the line. But, acting and promotion are two completely different ball games, which is why the cast of this film were booked in for a training session on how to successfully present themselves in interviews.
Of course some of the cast were ‘naturals’ at this sort of thing, but one guy (I won’t say who to save him his blushes) just isn’t comfortable with this sort of attention. Whilst he fully comes to life on screen, in private he’s a pretty quiet and unassuming kind of guy. Perfectly fine qualities in a human being, but not so great when you’re trying to excite and enthuse an audience of people into going to see the film you’ve just made for them.
Naturally, the lady running the course had seen all this before and knew exactly what to do. Instead of giving him a whole list of specific instructions which she knew he’d probably forget anyway, she gave him just one…
Just imagine it’s a part, and you’re playing a successful movie star!
And guess what? As soon as he ‘got it’… that he wasn’t being himself in these interviews, he was simply acting another part, just as he did every other day of his working life, the transition was almost instantaneously made. He acted like he was a movie star, so the people around him started to treat and react to him as though he was a movie star. And by now, you should know what happens next…
He’ll start to feel like a movie star, and that will affect how he behaves naturally… But just like Derren Brown, he too, had to fake it before he could make it.
Thirdly now (and I saved the best till last)…
I (yes, dear, sweet, little old me), through my business networking commitments, have recently found myself more and more in situations that demand that I engage with people face to face and even have to speak publically, in front of people… people judging me, judging the way I look, the way I carry myself, the way I speak, the way I fluff my lines almost every time, oh alright then, every single time dammit.
Believe it or not, back in the day, I used to sell insurance (I have also sold kitchens and cars as well, brand new shiny ones too), and the catchword of the day back then was that people will effortlessly buy into your enthusiasm, every single time. And guess what, once again… you have to act enthusiastic to become enthusiastic, and we do this because it’s enthusiasm what sells right?
Needless to say, it’s my acted enthusiasm that carries me through my public speaking engagements. My audiences would buy into that, rather than my (to me) more obviously apparent fear led inabilities and insecurities.
Notice any parallels yet? Is there a common theme being reinforced here somewhere? Is there an ‘aha’ moment lurking in any of this for you? Like I mentioned at the start, I know there was one for me. It seems that the world is indeed a stage and we’re all the cast just playing – no acting – our parts on it. Maybe faking it til we’re making it.
But not so fast… for there is another way.
And that’s by virtue of an incredibly thorough training.
By learning all the whys and wherefores of your trade in every single aspect of it and both theoretically and practically educating yourself in every painstaking, intricate and perfect detail of it, you can never forget the firm grounding you will give yourself..
And armed with a ‘knowledge’ of that kind, there automatically becomes a sense of confidence and enthusiasm for everything you do. You don’t have to fake it to make it happen, it just happens anyway.
Obviously there’s a lot more to being a handyman than just acting like one but there are still handymen out there, happily faking it till they are making it.
These days, YouTube is packed to overflowing with ‘how to’ videos for them to draw their limited knowledge from and I should know because during my chequered past, I’ve even made one of said videos myself (WOW one hundred and sixty two and a half thousand views to date). But is that really enough to successfully trade on? Would you risk all your hard earned, on the knowledge gleaned purely through a three minute YouTube video?
You see, once you’ve done the training and covered the hard yards you’re not only fit to become a trusted employee for someone but you can also go on to become a great leader in your field too. It’s a tremendously enlightening and empowering moment for you, because it’s only then that you know for sure that your fate and fortunes lay entirely in your own hands, and not the hands of an over-zealous camera jockey.
And for me, the great news is that in choosing to be self-employed, I even get to choose the parts I play. Nobody else chooses those parts for me. And if I continue to play (not act) the part well, the world demands and even dictates that I play it again and again for life.
What an awesome excuse for me to play Bob the Builder. YAY!