Jul 12, 2016

Book Report: The Compound Effect

I have been reading a lot lately. I read year round, but sometimes, I devour book after book because I'm in search of ideas. These times come when I am in a period of reinvention. This happens about every five years or so, which is pretty understandable. How many five year segments does a person get in life? Maybe ten or so after one is all out of formal schooling. 

Ten years ago, I started getting really into improv. Before that I was a gigging actor and sketch comedy guy. Five years back I drifted into solo performance big time. One thing kind of leads to another. I don't reinvent the wheel, I just pick a variation on a larger path (as a theatre artist who specializes in narratives) and see how far I can go. I'm not a hundred percent sure what is coming next, but I know I'm restless for new horizons. 

One of the books that I've picked up recently has been Darren Hardy's THE COMPOUND EFFECT.

I had never heard of Darren Hardy before. Apparently, he's a motivational dude comparable to Tony Robbins. He shows up in his own book preseting himself as quite a big deal, which was initially a bit of a put-off, but once I got past that, I found he has a lot of worthwhile things to say. 

The book doesn't break new ground, but the benefit of it is putting all the common sense stuff we need to hear, but often forget, all in one place.

  • Track everything.
  • There's no substitute for hard work.
  • Cut out distractions.
  • Figure out why you are doing what you are doing
  • Small, incremental changes add up over time.
  • Don't quite, keep going.

So, nothing groundbreaking. But Hardy puts all these things together in such a simple, accessible way. 

The things that I took away from the book have really stuck with me and I have started applying them directly to my life. For instance, Hardy reiterates that little seemingly inconsequential decisions really do either add to one's life or take away from it. 

For instance, he uses the example of three friends. One starts eating slightly less (like 125 calories less) per day by doing small things such as having one less soda or switching mustard in place of mayo on his sandwiches. A second friend doesn't make any change in his diet at all. A third friend puts a bit more luxury into his life. He puts a bigger screen television in his house and fixed himself cocktails in the evenings. After a few months, there was no noticeable difference between the friends. But after 30 months, the three friends had very different outcomes. The first guy had lost 20-something pounds. The second fiend didn't change at all. The third friend was 20-something pounds heavier. Just from the small, seemingly irrelevant actions, the compound effect yields drastically different results in the long-run.

Hardy goes on to point out, if friend one and three had stopped their actions after a short time, they would have seen very little effect. The big change happens in the long term. So, keep going. The take-away is to keep going.

I totally fall into the trap of instant gratification from time to time. I have been known to throw up my hands when I don't see results. Ultimately, I have never gotten that far in those areas where I expect a lot of apparent results in a short time. 

I have decided to switch my basic belief system in regards to this. If I have faith that the compound effect will work, that given enough time and pressure things are bound to change regardless of short-term noticeable evidence. 

The last big take-away for me is Hardy's insistence on direction over goals. Setting a goal and mechanically heading toward it in perfect measured ways is really difficult to do. But knowing that you are heading in a general positive direction towards what you want is enough. All the benefit in the long-run but without the stress and pressure. Again, small, incredmental changes add up to seismic shifts. The compound effect in action.

Recommended. You'll need to be ready for this book, or in need of it, but it is jam-packed with useful stuff.

NOTE: See more books that have impacted me on my Book Shelf page.

Jun 24, 2016

My so called life on Bike Soccer Jamboree Episode 46

I co-host a podcast called Bike Soccer Jamboree. In the most recent episode my fellow co-host, Jeff, interviews me about my career and how I came up in the theatre. Give a listen. Link below.

Listen... HERE

Jun 4, 2016

Pretty Damn Important

Grant Knutson, Me and Mark Lowry of TheaterJones.com

I'm reposting this little snippet that showed up on TheaterJones.com the other day. It is probably the most supportive statement I've received in my home town to date. Much gratitude to Mark Lowry ay TheaterJones.com for the support and for seeing the big picture.

This marks the third year for Brad McEntire and his Audacity Theatre Lab to put together a two-week festival featuring eight solo performers from across DFW, Texas and the country, using his connections from years of traveling his own work to fringe festivals.
This event is becoming pretty damn important, one of the few theaters/events that can scooch Dallas into the national theater conversation—and let's be honest, although we have more of those opportunities than we did even five years ago, it's still not where it should be for a city and metropolitan area this large. With WaterTower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival on hiatus next year (and its future hinging on leadership changes), and considering that the Festival of Independent Theatres is hyper-local, Dallas Solo Fest is our only theater festival connecting communities and performers around the country. And McEntire is doing it on the shoestringiest of budgets.
<soapbox>If you consider yourself a patron of local theater and you're not making some effort to support events like this (provided you have time in your schedule and money in the pocketbook), then you're helping Dallas/Fort Worth stay mired in the provincial.</soapbox>
Make tracks to Margo Jones Theatre this weekend and next, even in the rain, for something that's truly significant. Will you love everything you see? Probably not. But you will love or at least enjoy—and possibly learn—something. And that's what theater and arts festivals are all about.
» Here's a list of the interviews with the five performers who open their shows this weekend, in order of first performance. The link on each name goes to our interview with the performer:
»  Our special section for Dallas Solo Fest, which has schedules, info on workshops, interviews and reviews, and will be growing over the coming week.

Original post... HERE

May 27, 2016

Bike Soccer Jamboree Podcast Episode 43

So, yeah, I'm still making these along with the delightful Jeff Hernandez...

Listen... HERE

May 25, 2016

Actor Richard Mansfield and Jack the Ripper | Histrionic Kablooie

Nineteenth century actor-manager Richard Mansfield must have been some actor. In 1888 he was performing an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Some how, he had London audiences believing he might be the serial killer Jack the Ripper. A little historical anecdote about the power of acting...

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May 16, 2016

Brad on the Little Big Scene Podast

The team at the Little Big Scene Podcast sat down with me and got a first-hand history of Audacity Theatre Lab and the upcoming Dallas Solo Festival at the Margo Jones Theatre in Deep Ellum. We talked about what it means to be an intentionally "small" theatre company in Dallas as well.

Here's the excerpt with me in it...

For the full episode go... HERE