Whether your passion is improv, standup, screenwriting, storytelling, or something else that is in no way related to comedy, following a lifestyle that emphasizes truthfulness and authenticity can bring a lot of joy and lightness into your existence. Here are nineteen rules, particularly emphasized in the comedy world, that anybody could follow if they wanted to live a life focused on being the realest version of themselves.
1. Living truthfully is a never-ending process. It is a way of conducting your life, not a destination.
2. People are often bad at expressing how they really feel. That doesn’t mean they’re boring or cold, it just means you have to dig deeper to understand them. When you get frustrated, remember that these types of people are always the most interesting characters in improv, sitcoms, and movies for a reason: there’s so much more to them than you originally thought.
3. Don’t sleepwalk through your life. Living truthfully means walking around with your eyes open in an effort to understand why things are the way that they are.
4. Even if people disagree with your opinions or your point of view, they’re always more likely to hear you out when you truly, honestly believe in the things you’re saying or doing.
5. It’s okay if you find it hard to be genuine sometimes. It can take a lot of effort, because it involves unlearning several years’ worth of lessons about portraying ourselves in the best light, saying what we think people want to hear, and the idea that we will be ridiculed for being honest about who we are.
6. But even though it’s a challenge, do not give up on your attempts to become as real and as you as you can be. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over a long period of time, in which you repeatedly train your brain to allow you to do that which feels most sincere, true, and unforced.
7. Pay attention to everything. There is magic and inspiration and realization waiting to be discovered everywhere around you, no matter what it is you do for a living or how you spend your free time.
8. You are not the most important person in the room, no matter what you do. That doesn’t mean your opinion isn’t worthwhile. It just means you need to remember that every person you encounter is capable of teaching you something.
9. People are not going to want to hang out with you – on or off stage – if you’re a dick.
10. “Not giving a shit about what other people think” doesn’t mean writing them off as insignificant or foolish. It means acknowledging that everyone has a right to their opinion, but that you will keep going after what you want, regardless of what anybody else has to say.
11. People will always be able to sense bullshit, no matter how well it’s disguised.
12. Being an ‘artist’ means a different thing to every person on this earth.
13. Putting down other people’s work does not make your work any better.
14. Oftentimes, beautiful things grow out of tragedy.
15. Trying to give off a detached, uncaring attitude isn’t going to make people respect you more.
16. Follow the things that fuel you, the things that make you excited to get out of bed in the boring, no matter how exhausted you are. The audience doesn’t care if the character doesn’t care – you need to find things you care about before you expect other people to care too.
17. People laugh at things they see on-stage and on-screen because they recognize it in their own lives in some way. So being honest and open with people is almost guaranteed to give you a real connection with others, because they will see some part of themselves reflected in you.
18. The fastest way to feel close to someone is to be vulnerable with them.
19. You are an artist when you learn how to resist the urge to hide your art.