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Judy Carter
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Did you really Kill?

From "Talent is Over rated" one of the best lessons I have learned:

Basic Conditioning and Simulation:

The equivalent to this in sports conditioning:  NFL linemen doing leg presses, so they can have explosive power and energy. A tennis player work on their stamina so they can still get to the ball 3 hr into match.

Rebuilding your basic skills sets is conditioning. This will make you stronger and faster in your chosen area. The truth is every linebacker even in high school does leg presses, but how many Comedians and Public Speakers work on their skill base?

Say you are a public Speaker or Comedian… Basic writing is needed for the presentations structure and joke structure are the base over all skill set. We all need to maintain the basic skills we have for our jobs or goals. People forget things the longer it’s been sense you first learned or worked on your initial skill, in my case writing  jokes and story structure skills. So I need to reread The Elements of Style as a book on writing, or Judy Carters 5 Steps to joke writing, or Truth in Comedy for improv.

Focused simulation: Athletes spend time on specific skills like pitching a baseball or serving a tennis ball, or hitting a golf ball out of the sand, they are all about your specific skills. They must be performed differently each time to simulate real life changes. Unlike a musician who practices the notes witch will never change. But for a quarterback no 2 passing situations will be the same.

Analyze others speeches and talks, and think what you would do differently. Analyze how a comedian that is on the top of their game is working the audience or set up their set list building the energy of their show and controlling the experience for the audience.

Self Regulation: (Background reading reminder) I read a month or so back in the Dean book that during rehearsal our goal is to rehearse the critic out of the performance so you do not have that critical voice in your head getting in the way of your performance. So keep this in mind. I also like to keep the idea of doing your edits in a different part of the room as you rehearse your delivery and entire set in keep that critic physically separate from your actor.

Deep practice is self regulation and its about learning and how to get better at performing a particular skill or getting better at performance in general.
One major aspect is Goal Setting:
A poor performer:
will not have any goal for that day. They just slug through their set without an aim other than to do the set. There is nothing they are striving to do better.
A mediocre performer: sets goals that are general basically to get to a good outcome. Get a laugh.
A great performer: Sets goals that will help them in the future. Like work on audience participation, don’t use a particular nervous twitch word like “um” or use more body language or voice inflection. Then see if you matched your goal, see if you can get better at a specific goal you set.

The next step is to reach that goal.
Make an exact plan, if your goal is to How exactly will they reach this goal? It’s more about the process to the outcome not just the outcome.
Attitude: Planning a goal and sticking to it everyday sounds had and you will need motivation… Where do you get it?
Self efficacy: your ability to perform and believing that all the work will pay off.

Feedback: We need to self evaluate only we can know what the goals were and if me met out goals.

Excellent Performers: are more specific and set the bar for them setting s specific goal and aiming only to match that goal. Sometimes they compare their performance to their own personal best, or other performers on their level or the best in that field. The key is to know when. Choose a comparison that will stretch you just beyond your current limits.

Mediocre Performers: are content with telling themselves they “Killed” or did great or poorly or ok.

Everything I have read to-date says not to set your goals so high that no meeting them will discouraging and not very constructive, on the other hand too low a standard produces no advancement. If you pushed your appropriately and evaluated yourself rigorously then you would have identified errors that you made. (No one is perfect) A critical part of self evaluation is figuring out what caused the errors.

Mediocre Performers: believe that their errors were caused by someone or thing outside their control… My fellow comedian got lucky, the audience was cold, and I was put on to late or early in the show…

Top Performers: believe they are responsible for their errors; this is not a personality thing. Remember the Pro set very specific goals and worked on specific skill sets, so if something did not work they can look back and pinpoint the part of their performance that may have misfired.

In the world of Golf a champion performer does not blame the weather or the green for a bad performance, they blame themselves.

So when you get off stage: Odds are strong the experience was not perfect, how do you respond? That part were unpleasant. Top Performers: Respond by adapting the way they act. They can make an educated guess on what actions they should change then repeat that situation with a tweaked goal and do better. They believe in their pressing on and making their work pay off.

Mediocre Performers: Respond by avoiding those situations in the future, not working on that bit till it gets the response you are looking for. Average performers did not have an action plan and blame things on the environment and are clueless on how to adapt. They will not repeat the performance, it they do they will not have adapted and not gotten any better.

Deep Knowledge: Educate yourself about the Domain you work in… Become an expert in your industry; learn all you can about the field. The more you know the better you will be. The opportunity to learn about your domain is easier to do than you think. We have the internet and written history about just about anything. Learn how that info works and functions as a system a working model.

Put it this way: You probably know how to drive and it works for you and you are failure to some well traveled routs and you may even pay attention to gas prices. But a Top performing Truck drive posses an extremely rich mental modal of his domain. He understands all the subsystems of his vehicle, hydraulic, mechanical, electric and how they interact, he knows 100’s of routs and their features as well as speed limits, weather conditions, police activity, gas prices, state licensing requirements and so much more. He knows how it all works together.

A Rich Mental Model helps all performers in 3 essential ways:
A Mental Model forms the framework for how you hang the knowledge you learn about your domain. Top performers can reach into their memory and use facts specific to their domain, because they understand their domain. They organize so the information can be used and absorbed better and faster. Because you have a mental model you know where that information fits and works with other information, creating a larger working structure to pull from.

A Mental Model helps you distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information. This is valuable when you’re in new situations, it allows you to free up valuable mental resources to work on what’s really important. Focusing on what’s most important.

A Mental Model will help you project what happens next… Because you understand how the system works you can better know the results from particular inputs. How the events that just happened will create the events of what will happen. A mental model is never finished; it’s always growing and changing.

You need to keep those skills sharp, Set some goals, be realistic on your achievements, and learn all you can about your field. Comedy is not all fun and games and speaking is not just talking. Start thinking better to do better!

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