Imagine having no talent. Imagine being no good at all at something and doing it anyway.

Imagine having no talent. Imagine being no good at all at something and doing it anyway. Then, after nine years, failing at it and giving it up in disgust and moving to Englewood, N.J., and selling aluminum siding. And then, years later, trying the thing again, though it wrecks your marriage, and failing again. And eventually making a meticulous study of the thing and figuring out that, by eliminating every extraneous element, you could isolate what makes it work and just do that. And then, after becoming better at it than anyone who had ever done it, realizing that maybe you didn’t need the talent. That maybe its absence was a gift.

These were the stations on the via dolorosa of Jacob Cohen, a.k.a. Rodney Dangerfield, whose comedy I hold above all others’. At his peak — look on YouTube for any set he did between 1976 and 1990 — he was the funniest entertainer ever. That peak was long in coming; by the time he perfected his act, he was nearly 60. But everything about Dangerfield was weird. While other comedians of that era made their names in television and film, Dangerfield made his with stand-up. It was a stand-up as dated as he was: He stood on stage stock-still in a rumpled black suit and shiny red tie and told a succession of diamond-hard one-liners.

The one-liners were impeccable, unimprovable. Dangerfield spent years on them; he once told an interviewer that it took him three months to work up six minutes of material for a talk-show appearance. If there’s art about life and art about art, Dangerfield’s comedy was the latter — he was the supreme formalist. Lacking inborn ability, he studied the moving parts of a joke with an engineer’s rigor. And so Dangerfield, who told audiences that as a child he was so ugly that his mother fed him with a slingshot, became the leading semiotician of postwar American comedy. How someone can watch him with anything short of wonder is beyond me.

~ Alex Halberstadt, from “Letter of Recommendation: Rodney Dangerfield” (The New York Times, January 26 2018)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

colette.jpg

My goal has not been reached; but I am practicing. I don’t yet know when I shall succeed in learning not to write; the obsession, the obligation are half a century old. My right little finger is slightly bent; that is because the weight of my hand always rested on it as I wrote, like a kangaroo leaning back on its tail. There is a tired spirit deep inside of me that still continues its gourmet’s quest for a better word, and then for a better one still.

~ Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), shortly before her death at the age of 81 from “Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings”


Notes: Quotes: Brain Pickings. Portrait: ecritsdefemmes.fr

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

drip

Two years from now I can hear people saying: Your play is extraordinary. And my answer: It took me ten years to perfect my craftsmanship. I am wrestling with giants here. Every morning I wake up in a sweat, ready for the struggle. The impact is great, but I am never defeated. It is the rehearsals I miss, to attend them and see the progress the actors make. My being there is an absolute necessity. My eye and ear criticize every move and every intonation. I listen to the “commas” of the play as if they were drops falling from a fountain. Dis moi comment vont tout tes affaires. I am alone.

~ James Salter, Light Years


Notes:

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

back-hair-portrait

Practice is not about being perfect.
It’s about being yourself.
It’s about getting past your lines of defense
to find the soft, chewy, sweet center.

~ Jay Fields, Teaching People, Not Poses: 12 Principles for Teaching Yoga With Integrity


Credits: Quote Source: Thank you Make Believe Boutique. Photo: Starwill

 

Kaizen

quotes


And to start your morning with Bach by Pablo Casals, here’s a Youtube link. Thank you Nia.


Source: thesensualstarfish

Ten Thousand Hours of Practice to Mastery…

Dilbert Mediocrity


Related Posts:

The Relentless Reviser

henri matisse-young-sailor I & II (1906)


The path to excellence.  Study the best in the field. Develop lifelong habits. Continuously revise and improve. (Kaizen.)  Practice.  Have a critical eye with your own work.  Be sure to focus on the process as it is as important as the output. Pursue your field of passion despite the views of your critics.  There are no shortcuts to excellence – it takes incredible focus and effort.  Same old, same old?  Yes.  It worked for Matisse.  And it will work for you and me.

Henri Matisse (1869-1954), along with Picasso and Duchamp, was regarded as one of three artists who helped define art and sculpture in the 20th century.  There is a Matisse show on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until March 17th, 2013.  There is an exceptional review of the show in wsj.com titled The Relentless Reviser.  Below I share excerpts from the review that are applicable to many of us in our fields: [Read more…]

Keep crawling forward and paying attention as we go.

there is no finish line - keep going

The Big Payoff by Steven Pressfield

“…The Big Payoff is central to the American dream…it might be the dream job, the fantasy spouse, the smash hit that puts us over the top.  American Idol is built on the fascination of the Big Payoff. So is Celebrity Apprentice…The dream of the Big Payoff is that it will change our lives. I’ve succumbed to this dream. Have you?  In my life, I’ve had moments that could qualify as Big Payoffs…The truth is there is no Big Payoff…

[Read more…]

Mission for today…

try harder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“The answer will only arrive after we stop looking for it,” says bestselling author Jonah Lehrer. Examining recent research into what drives creative insights, Lehrer breaks down how and why we have “aha!” moments, using examples that range from Bob Dylan writing “Like A Rolling Stone” to a Tibetan monk’s zen puzzle-solving powers. But insight isn’t everything. Those who achieve great things in the long-term also have another important quality: Grit, a single-minded persistence that helps them keep their eye on the prize and pushing ever-forward even when the “aha!” moments aren’t around.

~ The99percent.com


Image Source: abirdeyeview via graff14

Related Posts:

Worried about your job? Hope is not a strategy…

Klaas Verplancke, ParapluieHBR Blog Network: “…It would take something like 1,000 hours — and maybe a lot longer — to recover from a forced career change…

…If disaster were to hit, you’d like to believe that you could find another job. Well, as the cliché goes, hope is not a strategy. Especially in this job market.

…It certainly seems we are running harder and harder to keep up with the required knowledge in our specialized fields. What would you actually have to invest in order to stay in this race? In this race, information is the tiger and there doesn’t seem to be an end to how fast the tiger can run. But remember, the good news is that you don’t have to outrun the tiger. You simply have to outrun your competitors, people like you who are going to be looking for a job, once their industry becomes obsolete…”

[Read more…]

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