Life Lesson No. 13: Ignore the Audience

For a period of about five years during my mid-thirties, I enjoyed working in a community theater. I sang roles such as Mad Margaret and one of the Three Little Maids from School in a couple of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. And I learned the hard way not to look at the audience, lest I get caught up in someone else’s facial expressions and forget my lines. It pretty much boils down to focus.

I’ve come to believe the same holds true for life in general: one can either follow one’s inner truth, or risk losing it in the face of someone else’s views. And there will always be someone ready and willing to tell the rest of us how we should live.

Someone once said the most important thing in life is to be true to one’s self. I believe that to be one of the few Supreme Truths on this earth. We’re born into a Role (not into a Script, which is the subject of a different Life Lesson), or dealt a specific hand of cards, if you prefer. To do ourselves and the rest of humanity full justice, and in the interests of wasting not one single hour of our allotted time, we must follow our Truth – what some call that still, small, inner voice.

While that may sound like fuzzy, leftwing drek, it isn’t easy to actually do. It takes courage – especially in the face of opposition – to decide against doing something most of humanity is doing simply because most of humanity is doing it.

I’m no philosopher, but the happiest times of my life have been when the decisions I made were in keeping with my inner truth. And my worst living nightmares have been the results of decisions I made that went against it.

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