One thing that always comes up in this entertainment life is how much I don’t know. It seems just as I start getting an understanding of one thing, it opens the door to another, and the learning begins again, or perhaps it is simply a transition from one learning to a new one.
My career has taken on some new directions of late, and it is both exciting and a little scary. What it has highlighted is that there is still so much for me to learn. What surprises me, when I stop and think about it, is how comforting this thought is.
I have worked with people whom either believe that they know all they need to know, or perhaps they know more than certain other people, and can not therefore benefit from their input. Fortunately, I believe these I know are in the minority. I have never found anybody that I couldn’t learn something from, even if it was about what not to do.
Our minds are like sponges, they can absorb a lot of information. Some of it slips out from time to time (just ask my wife to confirm that fact about me), and some people are better at absorbing some things better than others.
I am appallingly bad at remembering names, and even when I do, I often confuse the face they go with, but I can tell you that I have met a person, and the basic content of what was discussed, or I can watch the first few seconds of a TV show, or Movie, and I will be able to tell you if I have seen it before. I have worked out that my memory works on visual and emotional cues, which is either driven by my love for acting and making theatre/films, or is the reason for my theatrical passions. Not sure which.
Knowing that there is always something new to learn means that I know I will always be challenged. I can always get better, or perhaps different, then what I am now. I can develop and evolve my passions by testing my limits, limits which are only going to change with every new discovery.
I once had someone tell me that they did not think another person should be coaching others how to act, when they have hardly had any experience acting themselves. I have had enough experience to question this position. It may seem reasonable that in order to be able to help others with something, one should have knowledge. Well, there are many ways to get that knowledge.
Some people get it by dedication and long time experience. Others may be trained specifically to achieve a certain task. Some people make for great actors. Other have an eye for talent, yet feel they cannot act themselves. Some people make for great doctors, or singers. Everyone has something they are good at, and we all try many things until we find what that thing is.
We all make mistakes. We all will upset someone. We will all have our rivals, and antagonists. None of us are perfect, and none benefit from telling themselves otherwise.
That said, I am guilty of looking at another’s work and finding fault, and then feeling better for it. Guilty pleasures. I have also been guilty of jealousy, or envy when I see someone else who is at an earlier stage than me, yet doing more, or “better” than me.
On the other hand, I am all to aware of my own faults, and I try to remain humble in that knowledge. My guilty pleasures usually last a few second before I recall one, very important truth; I am where I am because of the choices I HAVE MADE. This other person has their own choices and learning to do, and that is their right, and their own journey to make. It is not going to be like mine, or anyone else’s. Their story will be unique to them, just as mine will be unique to me.
We are all different for the same reasons. When you judge another person, you are actually judging yourself as well. Tonight as I looked at another person’s work, I realised that this person was doing things that I once did. Now that I know different, I couldn’t look at the work without a critical eye, and I felt like I was also casting that same eye over my work.
And here is the key item for this blog; not only are we all different, with different strengths, talents, and stages of development, we all learn differently as well. This is important, because the things one person learns taking the long way of hard work and experience, can be seen in a different light by someone who has been specially trained, or is at a different stage of development. They may be able to see things that the well trained and experienced one cannot. This works the other way around too.
Never discount any opportunity to learn, even from those who, technically, are “younger” than you, or “less-experienced.” Their unique point of view may just be the insight you need.
Great blog today Jeff, as always.