doing MY best vs being THE best (advice that someone asked for after reading my last offering of advice that someone asked for)
if you have questions that you'd like me to answer, ask and i might answer! like this!
dear friends, family, fans, fellow flow-followers, faux foes & fake flim-flammers,
thank you for being here and for being you!
i am grateful to you and grateful for you!
as you may be aware, i generally use this space to share short jokes, poems, and other quick word units of fun.
sometimes, i use it to share slightly longer pieces i’ve written, often in response to questions other folks have asked me. last week i answered a question about confidence, and a reader asked this follow-up question. here is their question and my answer (so far)!
I like reading answers to your questions even though I am not a writer, though I write things every day for work, and I'm not an aspiring comedian, though I'm situationally funny.
My question that could be addressed in a future substack, or not, is how do you translate the advice that you give about writing and comedy to everyday life, like someone who works at an office job? I have colleagues who struggle with/worry about being right, being the best and not making mistakes. I think a lot of what you're saying here translates to this work like, in order to be good, you have to be bad and your successes add up but your failures don't. I think I try to tell them this, but maybe not as artfully as you do. Do you have advice for your average Joe/Jane/Nonbinary J person in this realm of how not to beat yourself up in life? How to progress towards a goal without letting every setback stifle you? How to be okay with not being the best at everything all the time? I know that's a lot, but I'm more looking for how to communicate it rather than the underlying message.
Firstly, thank you for asking. And also firstly, thank you for reading what I write, and responding so kindly and thoughtfully. And also also firstly, I really like "Nonbinary J person."
For my next "firstly," I will say this, which is something that I strive to remember for myself a lot of the time: if people aren't asking for advice, they might not take it when I give them advice. If people ARE asking advice, even THEN they might not take it when I give them advice.
Now, for a few vignettes on that theme:
My friend Gus is a therapist, and I often go to him as a friend when I'm facing a particular life challenges. His advice is always kind and thoughtful, and I do my best to implement it. I once asked him "is there a difference you experience between giving advice to friends and giving advice to clients?" and he said "yes, my clients are more likely to take my advice."
Gus told me once about a group therapy session he was leading, I believe, where they were discussing particular tools that people could use in various situations. If I remember correctly, someone presented this situation: "okay, suppose one person is on one side of a door and won't come out, and another person is on the other side of the door imploring them to open it; in that situation, which one is the person who should be using the tools?" ... Gus answered, "that depends; in that situation, which one of those people is YOU?"
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