Getting in Character … August 31st, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2678)

hand taking an oath

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

  • I promise.
  • Cross my heart and hope to die.
  • I swear by my mother’s grave.
  • And some bizarre confirmation of truthfulness by “sticking a needle in one’s eye.”

These are the pledges and contortions that people seem to be willing to put themselves through to get others to comprehend the level of their faithfulness.

But unfortunately, even though “promise” seems promising, it is now often accompanied by a forlorn adjective: “broken.”

  • Broken promises.
  • Broken marital vows.
  • Broken dreams.

So as an actor on the stage of life, what is our responsibility to those around us, to prove the intensity of our veracity? For you see, the problem with a promise is that it fails to recognize that the person sharing it is human, not divine. Every time we try to take on the job description of our Creator, we create nothing but fiasco.

Only God can promise. Only God has the ability to perform His beckoning without ever needing to swear or vow.

As a human being, you have three available, realistic responses:

1. Yes.

“Yes” should only be used when we actually plan on doing it because it is in the spectrum of our own will and concerns. It may seem noble to say yes because we’ve been pressured into it, but then what you have is a promise, which may be difficult to keep.

2. No.

No, I’m not interested.

No, I won’t.

No, I can’t.

No, I shouldn’t.

“No” is one of the more powerful words in the English language because it eliminates 90% of our hypocrisy. If we had said no to that thing we really didn’t intend to do in the first place, people would not be able to hang anything over our heads in judgment.

3. I don’t know.

Ignorance is not bliss unless you admit it. If you’re caught, it’s in the neighborhood of sin.

There is a great authority given to us by admitting that we just don’t have enough information to make an intelligent decision. We will sit, learn and wait for the power to be intelligent instead of impetuous.

Since we do not control all the factors that surround us, it is better to forego the foolishness of promises … and therefore escape that nasty needle in the eye.

 

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Getting in Character… August 24th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2672)

diane lane unfaithful

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

To thine own self be true. More words from Bill the Bard.

Without being emotionally truthful to ourselves, we set in motion the seeds of infidelity.

Unfaithful. Promising and then failing to deliver.

And the truth of the matter is, if we’re unfaithful to ourselves, we are certainly determined to be equally as unfair to others.

Even though we criticize this kind of cheating as reckless and uncaring, it seems to permeate the human race like a fungus–or maybe better described as a mold that grows voraciously in a damp environment.

If we’re going to be good actors on the stage of life we have to be able to isolate what makes us unfaithful. The lust to be untrue is not born in our flesh, but in our heart. People who feel cheated, cheat:

  1. I am better than what I have.
  2. I am being ignored
  3. I will force my next opportunity.

When you put these three statements together, or isolate even one of them into a great pool of self-pity, the end result is a disregard for promises and leads to the pursuit of whatever is available on the premises.

Once unfaithful, each one of us is deemed a risk.

As a risk, we tolerate a certain amount of scrutiny but then rebel against the incrimination. This only creates more heart sadness, which leads to greater unfaithfulness.

How can we human beings, who are drawn away by our own lusts, ever learn to gain the predictability that makes us trustworthy to others?

A. Do well.

By the way, that’s your well-doing, not something someone else dug for you. In your present status, what is your “well?”

B. Get better.

You have to be willing to admit that there’s always need for improvement, and such adjustments are made much easier if they happen to be your idea.

C. Stay aware.

Aware of what?

  • Aware of being disgruntled.
  • Aware of being disappointed.
  • Aware of feeling left out.

These are the beginnings of the sorrows of infidelity.

If I am true to myself, I have a chance to be true to you.

But to be true to myself, I have to remove all of the ego props that tell me I should be receiving much more attention.

 

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Getting in Character… August 17th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2666)

choking

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Don’t kill off the competition.

You will be tempted to do so. The world around you encourages deception–in a passionate way–to gain a footing to win the role. And in doing so, you may be taught to be a detractor of another person’s talent.

Most plays have two main roles, and a whole bunch of character opportunities. Maybe you envision yourself to be a “lead role” type of person. But the deck is stacked against you, because once someone has been given a lead role and they’ve been successful, making money for the corporation, they will be favored for the next lead role.

You may find yourself disgruntled, on the sidelines, badmouthing the stars and insisting that you could do just as well.

No one likes that person. That person is normally written into the script of life as a villain or a pathetic loser.

To avoid the anger which leads to rage and jealousy, causing us to assassinate the character of our fellow-travelers, it is very important to learn where to go to be both happy and productive.

It’s a simple, four-step process:

1. Find a hole.

Yes, there are many things that are left undone, partially because they’re not very glamorous, or they appear to be more difficult. Find one of these–not just “the road less traveled,” but the opportunity less pursued.

2. Fill the hole.

Take that talent you’ve been reserving for the spotlight and move it stage right or stage left, and allow your best performance to shine.

3. Invite friends.

That’s right. Include other people in what you’ve discovered. There is nothing more powerful than making an obscure idea popular, and then walking away from it, so that you can…

4. Find a new hole.

The minute you discover that what you have begun has gained traction, look ahead to what humankind needs and start moving towards it.

There is no such thing as being “ahead of your time.” If you’re not ahead of your time, you’re waiting in line. Actually, being ahead of your time is just having the intelligence to know what is needed, and beating others to the market.

You will have a tendency to be a killer if you don’t learn how to be a doer.

And to become a doer, your job is not to build a super-highway, but instead… find great joy in filling in the pot holes.

 

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Getting in Character … August 10th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2658)

Rules guys

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Rules were not penned to paper nor carved into stone to cease human sin. They are put in place and enforced because humans lie about it.

Whether these stipulations are called “The Book of Order,” “Standards and Practices” or “Ten Commandments,” they loom as an angry mother with a switch, threatening us with nagging time-outs unless we comply or find a way to do it “behind Mommy’s back.”

Here’s the problem: we cannot live an abundant life, filled with character, and place a quality performance on the stage by dodging responsibility like adolescent brats.

Are rules important? When do regulations become a noose around the neck instead of a rope, pulling us toward success?

First and foremost, we must understand that there are good rules and bad rules.

A good rule is a guideline that advances the quality of human life. A bad rule is an attempt to stall human life in order to halt some feared activity. It’s similar to the office manager telling all the employees that no one is allowed into the supply room to get anything because someone is stealing paperclips.

So how do we know?

A good rule: All men are created equal.

A bad rule: We need cheap labor, so we’re going to make the black ones slaves.

A good rule: Moderation in all things.

A bad rule: Total prohibition of alcohol.

A good rule: Marry someone you love.

A bad rule: Just make sure he or she is the same color.

To be an excellent character in the great human drama, you must be prepared to respectfully decline from participating in rules that were produced in fear, which generate even more fear.

It’s the difference between the law and truth:

  • The law is when people try to control their humanity.
  • The truth is when people try to learn their humanity. 

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Getting in Character … August 3rd, 2015

 

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2651)

spice rack

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

The society of humanity offers pernicious quantities of advice while releasing miniscule portions of support.

There’s a very simple reason for this. Each one of us mortals is deeply afraid that we will fail to receive our required recognition.

So because this climate exists, caution is pushed to the forefront to protect our turf, which lends itself to a backlash, often resulting in evil.

Therefore, we are offered a banquet table with the only entrees being “dull” and “dark.” For a while “dull” is offered as normal, which is followed by a rebellion, which tries to focus on the more unseemly parts of our character. And then, when we get nervous about the world becoming too dark, we “dull out” again, to an uncomfortable level of blandness.

It happens in politics, religion and entertainment.

No one seems to be able to break the cycle. We seem to accept the fact that life in itself is pretty boring, unless you spice it up with vice, sin and bleakness, which lends itself to selfishness and evil.

Yet the people who are recalled by historians as earth-shakers always provide something bold and bright.

Without these individuals, our history would have ceased many times over and cast us into a permanent Dark Ages.

How can you offer something bold to overcome the dull?

Always remember that human beings have two basic needs: they require purpose and praisepurpose in the sense of understanding why they are doing what they are doing, and praise exemplified through enjoyment and appreciation.

So first of all, you can affect any scene in your life by bringing purpose and praise to it instead of feeding the bland and the boring.

Secondly, we need something to enlighten us. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with exposing the darker portions of the human character as long as you do it with light instead of exaggerating the depths of bleakness.

Things get dark enough without us turning off the lights. People of character always must bring some light to the darkness; otherwise, we’ll end up negative and cursing one another.

  • If the world becomes too dull, we become infatuated with the dark.
  • Once frightened of the dark, we too quickly will return to the dull.

Your job, while getting in character, is to bring the bold and the bright and become a light to the world.

 

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Getting in Character … July 27th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2645)

Siskell and Ebert

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

A good performance does not guarantee a good response.

Learning this may be the secret to both contentment and success.

Somewhere along the line, we have acquired the idea that good things eventually receive acclaim. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There are factors at work in the marketplace of humanity that are often geared to eliminate competition by thrusting good ideas, good sensations and even good performances to the rear. Otherwise, mediocrity would have no chance of surviving–and we all know that the mediocre is often hoisted on the shoulders of the masses and proclaimed to be excellent.

So the first thing we must do is establish a standard for ourselves that is higher than present expectation.

There’s a simple reason for this:

If we do receive rave reviews, then we know that it was brought about by concerted effort rather than luck. And if we don’t, we can have confidence that any persecution or retribution that comes our way is more than likely being spawned from some pit of prejudice or jackal of jealousy.

So if we’re not going to always receive what we’re due for our performance, what is the purpose of trying to excel, or stepping out on the stage of life to display our hearts in the first place?

Every real performance which is practiced and perfected affords us four delightful conclusions:

1. We can stop lying.

That in itself should be enough to encourage us toward developing the glorious rendition of our part.

2. Every good performance exposes our insecurities.

Isn’t it fascinating that rehearsal always brings the faults to the forefront, and then we can decide whether we are secure enough to improve them?

3. Performance eliminates conceit.

There is no need to be conceited about something that is obviously good. Conceit is generally birthed in a person who privately fears that what he or she has to share is insufficient. So they try to cover it up with pomp and circumstance.

4. And finally, the pursuit of a great performance, whether regaled with honors or not, gives us a huge opportunity to overcome our fears:

  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of obscurity
  • Fear of being critiqued
  • And fear of suffering injustice while knowing deep in our hearts that we’re doing something of great quality

The truth of the matter is, great does not always rate. It doesn’t come with a guaranteed award.

But it does reward us with a true sense of confidence… that we have stepped out and found our best.

 

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Getting in Character… July 20th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2639)

Give Peace a Chance

 

From Act II, Scene VII of As You Like It, Shakespeare asserts that “all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”

Finding peace is rarely peaceful. It begins by admitting we are not satisfied. The position we find ourselves in is no longer acceptable. We may be afraid of change, but we are more frightened of the status quo.

Yet we have delayed. The reason is obvious: making peace is personal.

No one will become peaceful if they think we are still looking for a fight. Why do we fight? We don’t believe we have enough love, talent, passion, commitment, intelligence, and time.

Inner peace is a blending of our confidence with good cheer–confidence that we can accomplish excellent things, and good cheer because we know that failing butters our daily bread.

“All we are saying is give peace a chance”–a chance to teach us, warm us, enlighten us,humble us, uplift us, expand us, and mostly … simplify us.

For after all, less is more or less where we all begin.

All thing work together to the good for those who love…

  • the Lord
  • life
  • honesty

… and conflict which ends in contentment.

God’s children make peace.

Peace starts within.

Within is when I’m no longer ashamed.

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