Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cause and Effect

 I never thought I would be quoting Jim Carey but I saw a link on Facebook http://www.mobiledia.com/news/199433.html with the title “What Jim Carey explains in 1 minute will change your life forever. Seriously.”  

I had to click on that.

While not a huge fan of his comedic style, I watched his commencement address to graduates at Maharishi University with growing admiration.  The jewel I took away was “your most valuable commodity is the effect you have on others”.

I mused on that during my walk to the beach with Gracie today and I will be honest that I am in what Seth Godin calls “The Dip”.  A bit stuck.  I was feeling sorry for myself, a bit down, stalled.   And that is silly because good things are happening. Things are moving forward…but we always want them to be further ahead than they are.  

Then I realized, I was thinking about the effect my life was having on me, as opposed to the effect my career, NPT, my teaching was having on others. 

I feel as though I take direction well, so I started by noticing simple things on my walk with Gracie today concerning the “effect” I have on others.  I acknowledged that the effect I have on Gracie when I am scratching her chin is that her back leg thumps too.  When I smiled at the older gentleman pruning his bushes as we walked by he smiled back. 

Then I transferred the cause and effect thinking to part of my career.

My teaching: The effect I want to have on my students is not just to teach them technically how to sing, but also to keep showing them how the real world of theatre works. The entrepreneurial side of the business. The effect I want to have on them is that they enter that world well-armed and ready psychologically.  Nurtured, yes.  But not pampered. Inspired to do their best work, but also tough-skinned.  I realized if I am thinking of the effect on myself in this I would only be nice and sweet and relatively uncritical so that they think highly of me.  But if I really want to have a positive and lasting effect, I have to be honest and diligent in my teaching. Yes and tough. 

My career:  It’s so easy to say as an actor that you had an effect because you made the audience feel, cry, laugh.  That’s good!  Is it enough for me? I guess not because I have always taught and performed.  There needed to be more even than that or I guess I would not have started NPT. 

Ah and now we come to the crux of my cause and effect thinking.  The reason for my musing.  The reason I am stuck.  What “effect” do I want NPT to have on others? 

In total honesty, it’s easy to get lost in the ego of this.  What effect does starting NPT have on me?  What effect does it have on my career? We are at a huge jumping off point now and it’s not just my own career, it’s an entire nonprofit with a board that believes in this project, and donors and other performers and, and, and!

I started NPT with a huge vision. I have it written down. I know others believe in it. It could be as simple as remembering the effect the arts have on those in need I guess and then applying it to a whole community. 

The little neighbor girl I gave flute lessons to years ago who had lymphoma.  It was the only thing that would get her to move her swollen little fingers.  The kids at After School at the Klein who feel inspired beyond their immediate inner-city surroundings to do more with their lives because of an arts class. 

I need to make this post a, "To be continued...." as I keep my mantra "The Effect you want to have on others".....on the world....

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