By Alex Bottner
Thoughts on Anxiety
There was a lot that was memorable about Marc’s presentation today, but this quote is still stuck in my head,
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
It’s probably because I watched a masterclass with Judd Apatow on comedy when I was preparing for my passion project. He was giving advice to beginners on what to do when you’re nervous on stage, and he was saying that nerves happen when you are worrying about the future and the audience’s end reactions. When this happens, you are not being present with the audience, and thereby not fully engaging with them.
He suggested to just focus as much as possible on being present to forget about your nerves and stay on course.
I had never thought about anxiety in this way before, but it couldn’t be more true. I would like to try and be more “present” when doing creative work.
It sounds cheesy, I know, but I felt anxiety in the development stage of my passion project that stopped me from completing it in the way that I intended.
The end of my video was supposed to show me performing “comedy” in front of a live audience.
Picturing myself bombing in front of an audience terrified me so much, that I struggled to even create and practise the routine.
I really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something different, but I let the fear of my future end result stunt the creation of it.
The saying “quantity produces quality” was not so subtly hammered into us today.
I know that constantly churning out creative work, whether good or bad, will help overcome the fear of the future end-result.
Judd himself admitted that his own advice was easier said than done. The only real way to get over nerves in the beginnings of stand-up is to make it through bombing in front of an audience enough times to the point where you don’t care anymore, and start to become good (I have even more respect for comics now).
In the meantime, I am going to try and just enjoy the creative process for the sake of it, and not beat myself up too much when I start out with what seems like a horrible idea.
I know that I am going to probably have some bombs along the way this year, but also trust that I am going to develop a lot from them.
Bring it on, future failures!