I can't really concentrate at the moment because I am in need of the bathroom, but my girlfriend is using it to make herself pretty. Or should I say prettier? Which one scores me more points. Not with her, but with karma? Which one affects me more on a daily basis? Eh.
There is a greater picture that arises from asking the question of what's more intimidating: doing shows and failing or not doing shows and existing only in theory?
Every time I stand on stage, delivering material, I nail myself to a more complete version of myself. I pour another day, another trial, another success or failure into the mold that will be the final version of myself. The way I choose to phrase my jokes has no value towards my final goal. Jokes are jokes. We all have them. If I don't have the right jokes, I don't mind pushing myself further into myself on stage because it's another way generate and facilitate my growth - not as a joke teller, but as a person with beliefs and opinions. What good is having beliefs and opinions if we never embrace them? Our hard earned beliefs aren't luxury cars meant for weekend driving. The more I explore myself on stage, the more I show people a genuine version of me. I am me. And that's where the humor lies. Because I am not me. There is humor in the struggle to find myself.
Until death, we will never exist as a fully realized person. However the evidence of a person's final version being can be seen through the elements that are in that persons life. There are many material possessions to own that can define what we wish we were.
A bookshelf full of unread books says a lot about what a person wishes they were. But these are objects that we can surround ourselves with. People - friends - lovers - these are things that we cannot control because these are things that exist as an extension of our person that is beyond the scope of conscious self-awareness. Sure, we can manipulate how people see us, but the failings of this approach become evident when those people become aware of our devices.
For example: I can choose what I want to talk about on stage based on what kind of crowd I think is in the room that night. But I can't affect how people interpret my words. The disconnect that exists between what I do and how people interpret it is where my conscious self-awareness breaks down. If I play to a crowd by playing with their expectations, then I am using a device that can become a one note gimmick that plays on people's gullibility. In the grand scheme, this isn't my goal. People don't like to feel gullible.
By adapting to my world on a continual basis, I am able to stay dynamic in a way that makes me both flexible and relevant. This approach will hopefully ensure that I never play to people's short comings, like gullibility.
My vision of the world affects how I talk about the world. The goal in life is to constantly refine that vision so my words become cleaner and more precise. The opinions derived from my vision will permeate what I say - meaning, how I talk about things might always "taste" kind of the same. Basically, my philosophy in life will be painted into a corner as I get older, but hopefully I am painting my self into the corner with a wonderful view of the room we are all in - to keep inline with that analogy. I don't want to play to the top of the room. I don't want to play to the back of the room. I don't want to play to any prejudice I have of people. I want to play to the top of people. By digging around in the dirt of my own existence, I am digging in the soil that all people grow from. In theory.
By existing in theory, I don't have any evidence to prove what I feel in my gut. By existing in practice (e.g. standing on stage and putting myself to the test), I am able to see how much of what my gut tells me is wrong. Well, not wrong, but in need of modifications. These modifications, and my ability to recognize them as they are needed, are a sign that my gut theory is digging in the right place. There's an interplay between theory and practice, both educate and give purpose to the other. A life of all theory is as unhealthy as a life of all practice. A life of extremes is unhealthy unless it kills you. You know you're living to the extreme if you're dead. Otherwise, you might just be living in the delusion of extremes.
To eliminate delusion, one must be able to appraise themselves without corrupting the purity of their growth. If insecurity can lead to mutations in our growth, then the goal in life should be to eliminate those insecurities. Perhaps we can appraise our growth in terms of "Am I good at what I do? Have I gotten better at what I do?"
The idea of wondering "am I good or bad" at something reveals a fundamental error in our approach to self worth. How do I know if I am good? The answer requires me to ask: who am I better than? If I am an individual with clear mind and heart, then should I be comparing myself to someone I just met who happens to exist in the same space as myself? The question really is a way to guesstimate our value within the social fabric of a given group of people. The question of "am I good or bad" will always reveal an answer that is subjective. If I am good, then what criteria can I use as proof my my conclusion. If I am good, then does that mean a majority of my peers hold me to some level of esteem? Is that a good quality for me to have? Or more important, is the community (I am basing myself worth on) good or bad? In the world of bank robbers, I could be a great one. But is that a good thing? Probably not.
In any insulated community, this question - as it relates to self worth - is worth exploring because many of the insecurities we face are the same insecurities that exist within the overall population of our community. The idea of "good or bad" should not be based off the appraisal of people as flawed as ourselves.
Am I good or bad should not be weighed against peers, but against the willingness we have to push ourselves beyond our prejudices. By stepping into an uncomfortable role, I am able to see how my beliefs work in a practical sense. I can see where my theories break down. I can see where they could be better. It's not that I need to fail in life. I need to put myself in a position to see how failure affects me. If all my failures add up to growth, then is that good or bad? It's neither. It's part of my growth. Is that good or bad? Depends on who you ask.
Sometimes silence in a crowd is a good thing. Sometimes it's a bad thing. How we handle it and how we let it affect us are part of the momentum that carries us to greener pastures in the grand scheme.