Sunday, September 29, 2013

What Holds You Back?

I'm running a bit down Sunset Blvd trying to get to the corner in a hurry.  I open the door and walk into a small black box theater, take my seat and turn my phone off.  The presenter stands up and starts asking what we think holds us back.  Everyone starts out with the usual gament of feedback:  money.... time.... roadblocks.... other people.... etc etc etc.  She takes those, and says 'Yeah, ok... lets put those in a single box.  What's that box called?'  The class now had a difficult time seeing where this was going, I raised my hand and said 'Failure?'.  She replied, 'No... That goes in the box too.  What's the box called?'  A few more answers were given out, and again... 'No... That goes IN the box too.  But what's the box called?'  The class is looking around at each other, not seeing what I'm now going to call the elephant in the room.  She smiles a bit, and says she now wants to play a game...

(In her class it was simply the test video), and we were simply told do not pay attention to the black shirt team, just count the white shirt team.  We played it twice arguing about how many passes they made.  I even discussed what I thought was a cross-team swap that didn't happen.  We literally talked about this for 10-15 minutes, then she simply asked... "Anyone see the gorilla?".  Class went silent.  "Oh yeah... He was there... Enters from the right, goes center, beats on his chest and leaves on the left."  Nobody said a word.  "Honestly, did anyone see the gorilla when we watched this video twice?"  Nobody, and now most of the class is chuckling at the absurdity that was missed.

"This is selective attention, and it's coming from your conditioned mind.  Remember that box?  That's what it really is, your conditioned mind.  That laser focus you have, or you think you have, keeps you from seeing opportunity that's right in front of you.  Have you ever noticed that when something unexpected happens, your mind mind goes into chaos?  And we have found two facts pertaining to this.  A.) When chaos happens, your defenses take over to keep you safe.  This is your conditioned mind.  and B.) Your success depends on how well you deal with this chaos.  Do you run and become defensive?  Or do you embrace it?"

She further really defined what 'chaos' is.  It's changes that are being requested of you, outside of your 'mental temperature zone'.  The larger outside of the zone, the bigger the chaos you experience.  There's stories of people she's studied that have turned down massive promotions at work, to blowing their winnings from a lottery, to rejecting a booking into a premiere role.  And all because the chaos was too much for them and they went into protection mode.

And it's this 'protection mode' that is the problem.  It's job is to keep you safe, and more importantly at status-quo.

Ever since that meeting every time I've felt the chaos and my protection mode kick on, I simply turned it off and embrace the change.  As actors/directors/filmmakers we are confronted by both opportunity and change on a daily basis, I'd say that it is part of the job if you choose to be in this field.  And now armed with this knowledge, it's a much easier hurdle to cross.

Hope this helps you in your endeavors!  :)

Have a great day!!!
--Paul Jacob Evans

PS.  My first short!  In under 24 hours: wrote, shot, lit, directed, edited, and composed this mini short for