Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who said that?? "Be true to yourself. And stay away from the dark thoughts".

Who said the following, and under what circumstances?

"Be true to yourself. And stay away from the dark thoughts."

Thought I would just go ahead and post the answer, because, well..... google just takes all the fun out of guessing, seeing as the information is immediately within reach in the seconds it takes to copy and paste the info into the search area.

Sooooo...the answer is: Frank Sinatra!

Frankie shared the above pithy remark in the book The Way You Wear Your Hat (subtitled "Frank Sinatra and the Lost Art of Livin',") by Bill Zehme, in response to the question: "What is the most important thing a father can tell his children?" The director of our show also happened to mention that after an award ceremony (he thinks it was The Grammys in 1992), when they were interviewing the winners, someone just out and asked him the secret to life. He said something close to "be thankful every day...and stay away from the dark thoughts."

As dissolute a life as he led, he actually had some very interesting and insightful advice that he imparted, over the years, and though some of it I don't necessarily agree with, this particular one, I do.

Many of us are bombarded, daily, with 'dark' thoughts. Sometimes they are a result of outward influences, but oftentimes they are just random thoughts that appear out of nowhere. They manifest themselves in a myriad of ways, including self-doubt and self-criticism, anger, revenge, feelings of futility. They are destructive and debilitating, and not easy to shake off. But the wonderful thing about the human mind is that change is just a thought away. We have no control over what thoughts come into our mind, but we DO have control over how long they remain in our psyches. If we indulge those thoughts they will remain there, slowly poisoning our mind, spirit and body until we actually believe what those nasty little voices are telling us, whether based on reality or not. On the other hand, if we refuse to entertain any negativity and immediately replace those thoughts with something positive, then they have no chance to take root and strangle us from within. And that's what it feels like. But we, ultimately, have that choice: to listen or not.

The walls in the apartment here are paper thin, and during the second week of performance, the girlfriend of one of the female leads made disparaging remarks about everyone in the show, including my work, and her criticism stayed with me until a few days ago. I couldn't shake it from my mind and although I knew it wasn't true, and that I'm sure she was just trying to pump up her friend's ego, (because one of the great reviews spent 2 or 3 paragraphs on my small part compared to her one line of mention), I allowed it to affect my work. I stupidly made adjustments that never felt comfortable. And in spite of the fact that the director assured me I was not doing what she described me as doing (being cartoonish), and I got wonderful feedback from audience members, I still felt bad. It wasn't until after a dear friend, who saw the show, finally told me that what I was doing was giving this one biased person, total power over how I feel about the job I am doing, and that was all I needed. I'd already allowed the comment to poison me, somewhat, so it still took some work to eventually get over it, but I'm grateful I did. What I should have done was immediately dismiss it, considering the source and circumstances, like I did the one bad review, but I didn't and that was the problem. It was a wonderful lesson, though, and I won't allow that to happen again.

And that's basically what we do when we listen to those 'dark thoughts'. We give power to the negative, which can affect us, adversely, for a very, very long time. So staying away from those thoughts, to begin with, is wonderful advice.
It's just a thought away!


MUD said...

A reader tagged me a "Thinking Blogger" and I was asked to tell about five blogs I read. Yours is right up there almost number one. One other blog arrives alphabetically before yours so I click there first. Yours is by far the one that I think the most after I read it.
I agree that "My Way" should be the national Anthem for most of the young people out there. Truisms,
- You are your own happiness. If you look for it in everyone else you will never be content with who you are.
- You are your own worst critic. Do your best and go to sleep knowing you did your best. Thay is always more than enough.
- If you are always needing or wanting something, you don't understand the difference between need and want. Fill your basket with the things you need and keep a list of things you want. It is the want list that keeps you working after you have met your needs.
- Smile and make the bastards wonder what you are up to.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Lets not forget Doobie doobie doo, that one has kept me on an even keel.

Francis was a walking contradiction, fascinating guy,

Blazing Cat Fur said...

On a serious note, I signed on to a start up last fall and for awhile felt that my approach was wrong, I did start to question my abilities as a situation similar to your own developed with a co-worker. But guess what I stuck to my guns despite misgivings and have since been proven correct. Criticism does hurt, the venomous kind will always be with us.

Incognito said...

Thank you MUD, I'm very honored! And those truisms are spot on. I would also add to the happiness one if you look for it in other people AND other things... the Buddhists are right on, with that one.
I will have to continuously remind myslef of being my own worst critic. I am a perfectionist and so that's a hard one.

And yeah, he was BCF. Glad you were able to work through it. Not fun when you are experiencing it, though. But great to know you weren't off target. Guess that's where the first part of his comment is apropos.. Be true to yourself.
And that's why it's so important to be constructive with one's criticism of others.

nat said...

I like this post. It's true and (sometimes) so simple that it's easy to forget about. I need these kinds of reminders now and then. Now I have another source for an occasional one.

:-) Thanks!

Incognito said...

Thank you Nat! We always seem to forget the simple truisms of life. If we could only remember them on a daily basis we could swimm through life. Ah well.