Well I thought my disappointment from last weekend might be worth discussing. I attended the third round of Australia’s Got Talent having upgraded and jazzed up my performance from round 2 as per the producer’s suggestions. I went along quite prepared to not get through, based on several factors that could quite possibly have gone wrong, and the many unknowns I knew the day might bring.
I was in for a rather pleasant surprise. The day went brilliantly well. I was a very popular choice for background filming which involved perhaps half an hour of sword play out in the park with the Gold Coast skyline and water in the distance. Then there was half an hour of filming inside, where they lapped up all my stretches and warm up routines and a smattering of my more aesthetic skills. Even the question and answer interview to the AGT camera and later to the media went really smoothly. I had friends and family along as supporters and I was well prepared for my time in front of the panel.
The previous performance was ridiculed and laughed off stage and I figured it would make my act stand out more. The banter before the act started went well with the audience spontaneously applauding some of the things discussed. Danni Minogue and Grant Denyer were fantastic, Danni joining me to start off the limbo, and Grant was a trooper for holding the watermelon for the sword cut. My whole act built perfectly with each element working just great. When it came time for the judges to vote, Danni started with a definite yes. Then the shock came with both Brian and Kyle acknowledging a great performance but didn’t think there’d be enough for future rounds. Ironic because Kyle mentioned having seen many many martial arts performances and wanting something different. Then he said what he had expected and wanted was the same old, same old, “jumping around the stage”. Frustrating! The audience were shocked that I didn’t get through, partly because they really enjoyed what I did, but also because some dodgy acts had got through.
Anyhow, the point of this blog is the afterwards. For 2 or 3 days I was quite disappointed,what I refer to as “being a little flat”. Others might call it depressed but I dislike the word. Now, over the years, I’ve had many disappointments, some small, some huge. I’m sure most of us have. Relationships, studies, jobs, accidents etc. In the past, I’ve used a variety of coping mechanisms. Wallowing was one where I’d allow myself to be sad and sorry for myself for a period of time (anywere from days to a couple of years!). This wasn’t good because I would dwell on my ‘problems’, seek pity (subconsciously) and these would both serve to compound my misery, and in essence, focus on it!
Another strategy I used was denial. I would do this through distracting myself, throwing myself into my work, chasing someone else, playing computer games, whatever. And this worked, to a degree! It dulled the hurt, helped the great healer (time) pass and I could use it to justify to myself. However, I have learnt that it is only supressing the feelings, not acknowledging them thereby leaving them unresolved.
You see, I believe that we are human and therefore deserve to experience all our feelings, positive or negative. We should be allowed to feel depressed, angry, or any of the ‘negative’ emotions as they have been earnt or deserved by circumstance. I would suggest though, that while we can allow ourselves to have these feelings, we should control our social behaviour as within ourselves it is not ‘nice’ to subject others to these, which let’s face it, are contagious. Also if we hang on to these feelings too long we’re not in a very positive place and perhaps sabotaging our near future.
One thing that is a huge way of life for me was taught to me by my first instructor, Mr. Nalder. He taught me by example about positive attitude and perception. In this particular case, I could concentrate on the rejection by the judges, the misinformation of the producers, the lost opportunities of future rounds. Or I could appreciate the enjoyment of the whole performance (discounting the actual vote), the marketing potential of the television footage that I believe will still occur, take on board the lessons learned for next time.
“I scowled because I had no shoes on my feet, until I walked further down the road and discovered a man with no feet.” Persian Proverb
Going back to the coping mechanisms, I suggest a balance is required. Allow yourself to be sad, distract yourself if it helps you get through it, but observe both and learn to recognise when enough is enough. Personally, I find that setting a new goal, related or not to the disappointment, gives you something positive to focus on and can motivate yourself to improve. After all, the more disappointments, depressions, rejections we overcome in life, the stronger, more balanced, and more self developed you become!
As for me, I am as yet uncertain whether I’ll audition again next year. I could always give them the same old, same old. I don’t need to make a decision about that for 6 months yet. In the meantime, I think I’ll focus on my wedding and honeymoon. That puts a smile on my face!
On a final note, while these ideas may have worked for me, and I hope might inspire others, I must acknowledge that everyone is different, and that there are other strategies that may be better suited to other individuals. Would love to hear anybody else’s ides?