Success Will Destroy You

When I first started performing, I didn’t trust the audience. I would finish a routine where I predicted the future, moved objects with my mind, or influenced someone’s choices, and people would clap like crazy. It’s amazing stuff, and it’s no wonder people would applaud!
But I didn’t believe it.
I thought they were bored, disappointed, or just clapping because that’s what’s expected of them.

Maybe they were, who knows?

Point is, I’m not psychic so I have no real idea what they were thinking.
What was really going on was I was dealing with my own impostor syndrome, and feeling like I wasn’t worth the positive attention I was getting.
Eventually I figured out that nobody has to clap if they don’t want to. They seemed to be doing it on their own volition because they genuinely wanted to show their appreciation.

I’d made it past the hurdle of self doubt without tripping.

Since I passed that test, life tries to destroy me using a different approach: success.
After shows people love to come up and shake my hand. They want me to sign autographs. They tell me how much they love my show (& by extension me).
Basically every single person I talk to afterwards has nice things to say.
It’s an illusion.
What I’m experiencing is the result of a self-selecting process. Turns out, the only people who are willing to stand in line to talk to me are the people who liked what I did. If someone isn’t a fan, they won’t waste their time; they’ll just walk out. This creates a situation after shows where I’m only encountering people who like what I do.
This can destroy me.
It gives me a false sense that there’s no need to improve. There’s no need to continue working on my craft. There’s no need to put in more effort.
That’s a lie.
Success requires constant struggle. Constant improvement. Constant reevaluation of choices.

Moral of the Story

Don’t believe your own hype. Thank people for the kindness they show you, but don’t make your choices based on the opinions of others.
Stay grounded, and don’t lose your drive.

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