Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank Your Teachers

It's The Least You Can Do...

If you are good at anything, or know how to do anything well enough to really enjoy it, chances are you had a teacher or teachers who helped you learn. If you are happy with what you know and are putting it to good use, please remember the people who taught you when you didn't know anything. Do your teachers a favor and thank them.

Thank them in private, but also thank them publicly. Thank them in private, because it is one of the nicer rewards teachers get and it will usually mean a lot to them. And thank them publicly, not so they can share in your glory, if teachers cared about glory they wouldn't be teachers, thank them publicly to help them get more students and therefore more money.They may do it for love, but they need money in order to do it for love.

So acknowledge them and steer students their way by singing their praises. And do it wholeheartedly. Halting or faint praise is worse than saying nothing. Say it clearly, often and regularly. On line, in person, on the mike.

Here's an example:

If you're interested in Internal Martial Arts, T'ai-Chi, Chi Kung, BaGua, and Hsing-I and you're anywhere near Seattle, WA, check out Andy Dale's club. Even if you can't formally study with Andy, even if you can just observe a class, it is worth it just to watch him move. He was my main teacher for 13 years and gave me my fundamental education in T'ai-Chi Chuan. I will never be able to repay my debt to him. He is an incredible artist and a generous, patient and extremely knowledgable teacher. Check him out!

See? It's actually pretty easy. You'd be amazed how rarely it happens in life. Sometimes students are in some kind of subtle or not so subtle competition with their teachers. Sometimes they are so preoccupied with their own personal dramas that they forget they even had teachers. Or they assume that teachers just know that their students appreciate them. So don't forget to thank the teachers who made a difference for you and don't forget to do it publicly. Let go of whatever push-pull you have going on with them and just do it.

OK, now, having said that, I would say this too. Do it if it feels right. Don't force it. Find a place of genuine gratitude and express that. You're teachers will be grateful and I bet you'll feel better too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So You Want To Be A Star..

Tips For Narcissists

If you want to be a star, you are a narcissist. Being a "star" means having the world pay attention to you and what you do. By "the world", I mean people you don't know, the public at large. Most people are happier when the world does not pay attention to them and what they do. But you want it. And you want it bad.

This is because you are a deeply wounded person. The wound, usually parental rejection and/or seduction, made you feel very bad about yourself. In order to make sense of the pain you were in, you created, or were helped to create, an image of yourself as "special", "different" and "better" than the rest of us. Getting praise, love and attention for this image of yours is what you hope will heal that wound.

So here are some tips to help you get what you want.

1. The first thing you need to do if you want to become a star in the entertainment industry is to decide whether to hide or flaunt your narcissism. I recommend flaunting it. If you're upfront about the fact than other people don't really exist for you, except to the extent that they can help you with your fame project, at the very least, it's refreshing...

Sadly, many people decide to hide it, talking endlessly about "love" and "community" and such, while being just as ruthlessly spotlight hungry as anyone else. So come on, admit it. Just look in your bathroom mirror and say," I'd sell out just about anyone and anything to further my career." Try it. After admitting it you might find that you actually start to care a little bit about other people.

Unlike Hollywood faux honesty that's actually a tactic to cover your selfish tracks, real honesty can actually change you. Being honest permits a movement within you that lies hold in place. So I say, Fuck it, tell the truth. You don't care about other people, you don't care about anything really except being noticed, worshipped and adored by strangers who you really don't like much. If you cannot bring yourself to be totally honest about it, at least try to be a little bit more honest about it. Or, lie your ass off and pretend you're a caring compassionate "artist". Your choice.

2. Whether you decide to hide or flaunt your narcissism, please be really talented. Seriously. Narcissism is so much easier to tolerate in the wildly talented. The less talent a person has, the more annoying and pathetic their narcissism. So spare us all a huge pain in the ass and be talented. And work as hard as you possibly can on maximizing your talent. Be very good at what you do.

3. Whether you decide to flaunt or hide your narcissism, DO NOT EVER discourse publicly about how we all need to "love ourselves". Just shut up about that. When narcissists talk about "self love", we all sense immediately that it's bullshit. If you're hiding your narcissism, the jig is up. If you're flaunting it, you're not making sense. Either way, it's unpleasant for all concerned.

The reason we know that you are bullshitting when you talk about "self love" is that you yourself don't really love your own self and we can sense it. You love your image of yourself, not your actual self. For example, you might "love" your image of yourself as a calm, "above it all", spiritual person, when you are actually anxious most of the time. The disparity between this image and your "actual self", as with many other "star qualities", is readily apparent and can often be settled with a tape measure. But you much prefer the image to the tape. So lay low, focus on that image, and let people who know something about love do the talking.

4. You will need followers and people who are on your side. One way you can do this to be so talented and charming that people can't help but like you. Another way you can get people on your side is to appeal to their own narcissism. You have to convince them that feeding you is actually feeding them. The ways other people garner support in this world, things like caring about others, helping them out, showing vulnerability, sharing resources, forget about that stuff. Those things are not even in the realm of the possible for you. Not until life has beaten the living shit out of you, and maybe not even then. You may think you are doing these things now but you are kidding yourself. You are not.

So meanwhile, the only carrot you can offer people is the sunshine of your approval. Many people are such suckers, harbor such delusions of grandeur, and are so uncritical in their thinking that they will fall for whatever you dish out, as long as you are reasonably charismatic and tell them what they want to hear, namely that you believe the image they have of themselves and are trying to put over. Give them small doses of this medicine while generally keeping it just out of reach. They will not only follow you anywhere but some will actually die for you.

Don't worry about these people. They are headed for their own lemming cliff just like you and all the rest of us. You're actually doing them a favor by leading them on. You're hastening their day of reckoning, when the truth, or at least a less false lie, will reveal itself. You're actually doing this for each other.

What you have to worry about are the others. The ones who aren't as narcissistic as you are. The ones who can kind of think, sort of clearly, some of the time. The ones who care at least somewhat about other people. These folks can sense your con and block your way subtly or not so subtly. So you've got to fool these people. You have to find some part of you that has at least some mild interest in what these folks are interested in. You have to act like a real person here. You can appeal to what narcissism they have, but you have to do it gently and very carefully, because they can smell someone lying to them. You have to produce more of a scent than a smell, if you catch my drift. Anytime you expect help or love or admiration from someone like this and you get a kind of pulling back instead, chances are you just now overdid it. So chill out and don't be too pushy with them. Work all your usual tricks but in slow motion...

Now the really sharp people, the ones who can see through you like water, you can only charm with pure talent and hard work. If they see that, they can forgive the other stuff they see. They'll suffer some of your bullshit and games, even take a hit or two, because they also see the talent and wounded heart in there, and are trusting life to break you down to Earth. They wish the whole process well, even you. So you don't have to worry or pretend to worry about them AT ALL. They will actually be offended if you do.

5. Now, keep your eyes out constantly, and I mean all the time, for any opening in the wall that's between you and the attention you deserve.

Just kidding. I know you're already doing this.

What you really have to pay attention to is what you do when you see your chance.

When you spot that opening, some opportunity to grab some attention or further your career, you want to full take advantage of it without blowing your cover or being too obvious. Let's say you see a celebrity who came to the party late and who no one recognizes yet. If no one's around or watching, just dive in and go for it. Chat them up and see if they can do anything for you. Virtually all celebrities are narcissists, so start with some not too obvious flattery. If the suckers are around, you can still dive in but do it with a smile or a wink that says, Hey watch this. If the shrinks are around, dive in with a shrug. They know what you're doing and you can't hide it. If the citizens are around, don't dive in. Just work your way slowly, steadily towards your goal. Every now and then go away from it, just to score points, but overall, keep moving towards that opening...

6. Help people who can help you, don't help people who can't. Don't actively block them, that can come back to haunt you, make you enemies, and give you bad press. Just don't help them.

7. Repeat until famous. Get into drugs of some kind, including, but not limited to celebrity itself. Put off the pain until you can't anymore. Then feel the shit out of it. Sort your life out and emerge a better, or dead person. Write book if you must.

So, in summary:

Decide to hide or flaunt your narcissism. (C'mon flaunt it!)

Be very talented. Work very hard.

Shut up about "self love".

Don't worry about the suckers and the shrinks.

Focus on fooling the citizens in between.

Find and exploit the cracks.

Help people who can help you.

Get famous.

Rise, fall, learn or die trying.

You're welcome.