For those of you who don’t know, my new year’s resolution has been “To only do what I want to do, and to not do anything that I don’t want to do.”
Pretty easy, huh?
I think that my biggest enemy is focusing on what I “ought” to do rather than what I “want” to do.
I want to do great at work. I want to do great onstage. I want to have a clean environment. I want to achieve my 101 goals. I WANT to think for myself. I want to completely own my life. Basically, I want to be the one guy on Earth who isn’t full of shit. I want to be completely honest, completely courageous, completely vulnerable, and completely happy.
The best part is that I’ve been doing it!
I’ve been on a serious awesome streak. Dreams are coming true right and left. “Awesome Videos” had its first customer. I’ve made a few really great (real) friends who also love life (they’ve been hard to find in LA). I got moved into the master’s acting class. I’m about to move into a sweeter apartment by the beach. I’ve been commanding respect at work and really leading. Also- I’ve been rocking out onstage! I got a huge showcase opportunity on February 5th. The scenes I’ve been writing in my movie have been hilarious and inspired! It’s all good. (I am embarrassed to say that I believe I notice the tattoo on the bottom of my foot appears darker when I am living out its meaning and it fades as my awesomeness fades. I seriously believe this.) Anyway- I’ve been doing whatever I want, and life has been totally awesome.
Then I face my worst enemy… this voice that tells me what I “ought” to do. “Hey, Watt, life can’t just be fun. You’ve got to struggle. You’ve got to pursue your dreams 18 hours a day. Life isn’t supposed to flow like this!”
So, I listen to the “oughts” and I become a workaholic. I focus, strive, and train on hyperspecific things (standup comedy, goals, etc) until I lose sight of the character aspects that make me awesome. (In my recap of 2008, I discovered that this was 2008’s big lesson) I lose my self assurance. I start judging myself by the number of achievements I make. Suddenly, I’m an unhappy presence that people don’t feel awesome around. I work all day, and I pride myself on the struggle I am going through, and how much it is going to PAY OFF for me. EGO EGO EGO. I basically become a sanctimonious little micromanager. I start focusing on how HARD I work rather than on results. DUMB!
Around noon today, I was on a serious AWESOME streak. Fun all over the place. Living the dream. Doing exactly what I want… embracing exactly who I am… then BAM! I broke my resolution. I did something that I didn’t want to do, but I felt that I “ought” to do.
I went to the Laugh Factory… and within an hour, I was compromising everything that I WANTED to do.
Doing the open mic night at the Laugh Factory requires standing in line from 2 until 5, then getting onstage around 6:30 to do three minutes of comedy. This is dumb. I’ve been rocking crowds of 500 plus for an hour. Why do I feel that I need to get onstage at this prestigious club? Good question. My answer was so stupid… “because I ought to be working on my passions”.
Here are the self betrayals I had as a result of this one stupid decision.
1) I told my brother I was too busy to talk to him.
2) I left work early, even though I was needed there.
3) I acted awkward about something awesome.
4) I smoked 5 cigarettes in line.
5) I drank SODA and ate junk food, and I didn’t even enjoy eating it.
6) I tried to change a guy’s philosophy in line, when I should have sought to understand it.
7) I put on a SHOW onstage, rather than communicating.
Here are the things I WANTED to do that I missed doing.
2) Work out
3) Prepare for meeting tomorrow at TOMS where I get to pitch ideas that I have been working on for weeks.
4) Watch “Do the Right Thing” for acting class.
5) Write the next scene in my movie.
6) Clean my room and begin moving out of my apartment.
7) Talk to my brother!
The things I WANTED to do would have paid off a ton; however, I did what I “ought” to do, and my discontentment led me to screw up in so many ways. Worst of all, the show itself wasn’t even productive. I didn’t get moved up to showcase or anything. (I don’t even want to BE a showcase… it isn’t even awesome. I’ve done so much better… there isn’t even a clear incentive). So I basically ended up trading the act of doing a bunch of things that I want for doing a bunch of things that I don’t want while pursuing a prize that I don’t desire. DUMB!
It is crazy how a broken new year’s resolution can SNOWBALL into a million self betrayals without you even realizing it. My day started out awesome. Insanely awesome. And 18 hours later I was walking around random streets of LA alone, teary eyed, processing the day’s failure, wondering when my suffering would end and life would all make sense, when I realized, “18 hours ago, I didn’t want any of this.” I was just pursuing things that other people, or my own sense of inadequacy, had convinced me that I needed. I don’t!
NEVER LET ANYBODY TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD WANT. GIVE IN TO YOURSELF. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THE PEOPLE WHO TELL YOU HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. As Michael Chandler says: “Hear and listen to your inner voice.” HAYLIV