Friday, February 27, 2009

Second Place

I was a very smart child. And it's ruined my life.

By 3, I learned how to read. In kindergarten I was accelerated to the gifted class. I got very used to straight 'A's. I got used to perfection.

But then puberty came along. I got distracted. I got a few 'B's. And I didn't know how to handle it. I panicked. That didn't help.

High school made things worse. I started failing. And since I was used to perfection, it felt like something that was happening outside of me. My dad locked me in the house for three hours a night to study. It did little to help my social skills but my grades improved. They never became straight 'A's though. I didn't know how to reach the perfection that seemed so natural once.

My life has followed that same pattern. Comic books. Music. Comedy. I worked very hard at all of them, got to 'good' then hit a wall. As hard as I worked and as frustrated as I got, I couldn't make the leap from mediocre to impressive. As a consequence, I was never able to make the career I wanted.

Anybody have any ideas how to break this?


C.J. said...

Jon, if I had an answer for you, I would have used it myself years ago.

Renee said...

Unfortunately, it is being happy with what you are given/where you are at.
You are only graded for those 12 years; then more in college, but not just in letters...but that is only part of your life. Building on that foundation, you are your own person and the only one who is giving out grades.

Not everyone can be number one, not everyone is a gold medal winner...but at least you were in the many, many people don't even get to do that.
Silver is still an accomplishment!
You are still a [cool] comic book geek.
You are still a talented guitar player.
You are even funnier than you were when we met.

But even more important,
You are a good father.
You are a talented writer.
You are still connected with these interests.
You have a passion that drives you to excel and not to accept mediocrity.

At the risk of sounding like Mrs. Steve Webe, you don't have to be the best, just be happy with all that you have already achieved for yourself and your family. [No, that does not mean you can buy a Donkey Kong machine. ;-)]

Cromely said...

It make look like a pattern, but there are different issues surrounding those things.

For comedy, you'll get there if you focus, but remember, stand up is not your focus. You don't really care. What you want to do is write TV and stand up gives your certain skills that will help you get there.

To be hugely successful in comedy, I think you need to be truly committed to it.

You only started a few years ago. And it was never your whole life.

And I'm not saying it should be because you've had lots of nifty stuff going on.

But you've always wanted to write. You wrote in HS. Music allowed you to write songs. Comic books were all about writing (you were likely too you to be number 1 there when you were in the industry). Comedy, sketches, and animations are about writing. The Not in My Book is about writing (and cute Ben pictures. Even the stand up event you founded is called "The Writer's Room."

That's where you passion lies. That's what you want to do. The rest of it is a great stepping stone, a great way to hone your craft, and a great way to get a foot in the door (have I mixed enough metaphors yet?).

Get out of the those other things what you need to pursue your ultimate goal.

It's all about the writing.

Then you can move on to the next part of the discussion -- What does it mean to you to be a successful writer? Figure that out, and go for it.

Heather said...

For what it's worth most of the time I have no idea what you are talking about in these blogs but I keep coming back...and it's not just for the Ben Updates (although I love those, too!)

Mark said...

Not to sound preachy, but you know, Al gore only got to second place, and some would say that's pretty damn good. He's turned out to be of way more value and accomplishment than Dubya ever will in 10 lifetimes.

You don't have to be number one to keep from feeling like, er, number two. heh.

I just barely missed the top 10 percent in high school; I was number 46 out of 450. Kinda makes you want to punch a baby, as Dane Cook would say. I've always thought that this is about where I'm going to end up most of my life... hovering right around that 90th percentile, but maybe not much higher. You know, that's ok. I'm glad I'm not in a wheelchair. Or on the street. Or working at Burger King, though I am pretty close. Keep honing your craft but don't expect to outdo the guys who spend 24/7 doing it. I'll never be Vladimir Horowitz, but that's ok. He's dead. And I can play the Polonaise Heroic 90% as well as he could. And that's better than 99% of all the people on the planet. You have a unique combination of skills and traits that no one else ever will. And you have Renee. There we are. Now go out for ribs.

Walker said...

Satisfied people are usually stupid people.

You see yourself as only "Good",that isn't always how other people see it.

now don't make me come over there!


Walker said...

You asked if there is any way to change the cycle.....there is one is difficult and have to go open the mail and see if there is a script you wrote 3 years ago in it getting some well-deserved respect!.....Now it looks as though I have a crystal ball....Keep writing ..."Don't look back"