Fate. A cringeworthy word to many. One that conjures up ideas of a creationist God that controls everything we do and no matter how we try to change it, it's written in the stars for us. I've gone round in circles on the God and fate subject but I'd like to approach this from another angle because I think I finally get it.
I've been slaving away for the past couple of weeks on Shakespearean monologues for an upcoming audition of sizeable importance! Theatre is my life's oxygen and therefore important enough for me to put my very heart and soul into every aspect required. During this particular process I was also battling my internal demons....that's what I'll call my nerves, paranoia and negative self talk for now.....desperately putting a lot more than I should be on the outcome of this particular audition (insert 'every audition prior as well').
I particularly have an unpredictable distractibility and nervousness issue when it comes to auditions. Like many. For me, this is a much deeper topic that I will get into at a later date but it can be debilitating nonetheless because for whatever reason that day or in that room something could intervene unexpectedly and sabotage all my hard work. Here's however where it's ok!
Knowing that I have full control of the amount of hard work I'm capable of putting into this prep, knowing that on the day I'm going to do my very best with all the tools I have at my disposal (rehearsal, characterization, meditation, affirmations) makes it easier to see the true meaning of the word 'fate'.
If I walk away from said audition after having killed it, I'm sure I'm going to attribute that to hard work and determination but what if I walked away after having gotten so nervous that it stunted my work and displayed a mere fraction of my potential? I mean I did everything I could on that particular day with the particular circumstances presented to guarantee that I'd have a spotless audition....what went wrong? And why is it that I forget the hard work and assume I didn't do everything I was capable of doing then and there? Here's where we're too hard on ourselves and though we're also hard on ourselves when we haven't put in the work, in a case like the former we need to remember that we in fact have done everything we were capable of doing in the allotted time available to us. The results, whether it be the actual performance or the feedback are based on circumstances beyond our immediate control. And that's where 'fate' comes into it. Fate, I believe is an equation, combining the circumstances present which range from your hard work or lack thereof, to your surroundings, to your brain chemistry (which can be affected and altered in ANY number of ways and is wonderful when truly understood.)
The true and more valuable point I'm trying to make is stemming from this self abuse we put ourselves through after we've worked our butts off to accomplish our dreams. Our issue isn't in the needing to reevaluate our idea of hard work but in the needing desperately to see ourselves as anything but who we actually are at that particular point in time. We attach ourselves to this image and idea that is most times unrealistic....and when we work hard and then see immediate self gratification and results, we immediately validate ourselves. We validate that image we've drawn and strive for and validate our supposed perfection....and perfectionism. But where does that leave the guy that's struggled all his life...truly struggled...had dreams, had images of himself the way other more successful people do but just never seems to be achieving as much as others or anything for that matter!! Our issue isn't with how hard we need to work...cause that's a given...if you don't work hard then don't expect the best results. It's in our acceptance of fate beyond our hard work and determination. Realistically looking back and taking note of what could've been done differently is part of anyone and everyone's process...that's how we grow and improve.....but the beating ourselves up part? That comes from delusional thinking! After all, growth doesn't come from satisfying results but from those that are questionable.
If you know you've done everything in your power to prepare for something important and you're also quite self knowledgeable about the inner workings of your brain and it's unpredictability sometimes and you're also clued into the unpredictable number of other factors that may intervene and need to be dealt with outside the scope of your initial hard work, then you should walk into an audition or interview or presentation and vow to DO YOUR BEST! That's all you can do...your absolute best. Even if you end up choking and losing focus, you need to remind yourself that that was you on that particular day and that perhaps you need to look into what makes that happen. That still doesn't mean you didn't do your best that day. You went in there with everything prepped...and you went in there as prepped as you happen to be mentally at that particular stage in your life, with the tools available to you then and there. What happens the next time you try, needs to be the result of a learning curve. Doing your best ABSOLUTELY has nothing to do with perfection. There's the delusion for you! If you know you slack off, stop slacking off, if you can't help it, find out why, if you're doing your absolute best, go in there, and trust yourself. Nothing happens without a reason. That cliche is riddled with undertones of 'FATE'. The reason you fall is so you learn how to get up. The reason you succeed is so you appreciate the value of hard work. Of course I'm implying that 'success' that comes from circumstantial luck and fortune etc isn't true success at all! It's a free ride!
Oh and remember, Lawrence Olivier, known to be the greatest actor that ever lived, would throw up in the wings before stepping out onto the stage. Supposedly. Ponder.