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POINT TO PONDER
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
- William Shakespeare
STORY LINE by Anand Shah
My father was a businessman and an artist. My mother was an English literature major and an artist. My mother was an avid reader and my father loved the theater. Art, and their mutual love for it, is what ultimately brought them together for life and what they passed on to me, their eldest son.
For outside of school hours, the majority of my time was spent performing as an actor onstage or spending time interacting with my parent’s social circle which was comprised of writers, artists, and actors. My parent’s friends would gather in our home and regale me with stories about their life and experiences. I especially loved the actors. I had dreamed of always being a performer, of going onstage, and thrilling an audience.
When I left home at the age of 16, I chose to study physics and later, semiconductor processing. At the time, it was a far cry from what I had always wanted to do, and life hadn’t yet given me the perspective to realize that I could connect the dots between acting and business.
You see, my early exposure to the arts would help me tremendously with my work and in my personal life even though I couldn't realize it then. And it was only later in life, in a career that has now spanned over 40 years in the semiconductor industry, that I finally have the perspective to realize that I had in fact lived my dream of being an actor.
For everyday I took the stage. I looked at my work and considered every day as an opportunity to perform on a different stage in a different role. Every morning when I walked in the building of an employer, customer or business partner, I played many different roles: a coach, mentor, promoter, idea man, and friend. Like actors we all play our roles and no matter how difficult, or joyous, we switch hats as the situation dictates. Even when I did not feel like performing, I committed and executed because I learned from very early on - from my parents' actor friends - that no matter what, the show must go on.
When I was given the stage (and those of you that know me understand how much I love it), I always performed as if it were my last. I gave everything to do the very best at my job. For those same actors from my childhood would tell me that you always gave in your best when you performed, because that performance could very well be your last. And since that audience may never get to see you perform again, you wanted to leave them with your all. I tried my best over my career to do the same, with all my business associates for they were ultimately, my greatest audience.
And that audience would sometimes applaud my best efforts and sometimes they would boo me off the stage. But what was important, as those actor friends had told me long ago, was that I learned from each experience. For it is all experience. After all the accolades and the unavoidable slumps, I only have fond memories of always having given everything I of which I was capable. For it is what you learn and what you do with it that lasts far longer than any career achievement.
Many of you were, unknowingly, my fellow players on this glorious stage. I thank you. Because after 40 fantastic years in this industry, it is time for me to move on to the next performance. It is now time that I take my final curtain call and bow to you all one last time.
POINT TO PONDER
"Who can guess that precise moment when your world is going to change?"
In the course of writing these Friday Reflections, I receive good stories from the readers; reflections of their own from their experiences. Roger from Costa Rica recommended a book by Stuart Avery Gold: Ping, A Frog in Search of a New Pond. It is simple, short and worth one hour of reading that returns over the course of a lifetime in learning.
Here are a few excerpts from the book:
Introduction: This is the story of Ping, a frog who ignored the signs of his pond drying up around him, and is stuck in the mud. Forced to leave his home in search of a new pond, he's unprepared for his journey and many challenges he confronts. Then he meets Owl, an insightful teacher who shares his wisdom, guiding Ping towards his goal.
Ping represents everybody who has encountered a setback or is struggling with change. Owl is the mentor who helps him find meaning and leap to new heights. Engaging in its warmth and simplicity, Ping's tale inspires us to lead a life with purpose and intention, to take risks and persevere, and show us the limitless possibilities that can result.
Quotable Quotes from the book:
The dream does not begin unless you do. Too many wait for just the right time and just the right place to act.The very act of waiting actually pushes the desired event away. You must do in order to be.
Risk converts opportunity into reality. A failure to take risks will result in failure to experience your destiny.
Change-real change-is unsettling. When change happens, it can create the kind of fear that can hold of even the most confident of frogs. Fear of change can grip and grab and seize you with such strength, it can paralyze you. But only if you let it.
As an old saying goes "the only thing constant in life is change." And with the rapid changes that the technology revolution of last forty years has brought about, our surroundings and lives are changing at much faster pace than ever. Even the mightiest of empires and once most stable of organizations are not spared from the massive waves of change. I highly recommend this book Ping. It gives an enlightening points to ponder about coping with change and risk taking.
(Roger is 2/2 for good recommendations; his previous recommendation, in 2004, was the book called Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Link to Ping Site: http://www.stuartaverygold.com/ping.htm)
POINT TO PONDER
"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."
STORY LINE by Rajiv Shah
Recently, I co-wrote a draft of my next screenplay with another writer. Now that the script is in good shape, the next step is to get professionals in Hollywood to read the material. That's easier said than done.
Most of the time scripts are read by assistants or script readers who then give it a "recommended" or a "pass" evaluation on your work. All too often, the script doesn't even get read at all, finding its way into someone's trash. So it's considered a success if you are able to get the script read by the person you actually sent it to in the first place; whether that be a director, actor, or producer.
Now my co-writer on this particular project is a genius at getting people to not only read, but to also respond with notes and/or feedback on our script. I call him the magician because for a long time it was a mystery how he got people to read our work.
The first time we received a favorable response, he called to tell me a foreign director who had been nominated for a Palme d'Or at Cannes would read it and get back to us. Two weeks later, sure enough, that same director responded and actually had kind thoughts for us on the script. I wrote this first one off as luck.
About a week later he let me know an established producer of the hit show Dawson's Creek would read our script and give us notes. Not only would this producer read the script, but also offered to give us feedback too. And sure enough, this producer also delivered. Now I was really starting to wonder.
Then a little later he called to tell me that a famous director who had been nominated for two Academy Awards (and who also happens to be responsible for one my favorite films starring Robert Duvall) would read the script to consider directing as his next project. Now I was totally dumbfounded.
Now mind you, these are people that he did not know before hand. They were people he ran into at parties and events in and around Hollywood. He went up to them, talked to them, and then managed to get their personal contact information to send them our script, thereupon bypassing all the agents, readers, and filters these people had at their disposal.
How did he do it? The question really started to plague me. Finally, I just came out and asked him to share his secret.
Apparently, it was pretty simple. After brief introductions, he asked the people he targeted what they were looking for and what they needed. If it aligned with what we had, he told them about our script. According to him, people were more than happy to share their personal contact info. If our script didn't match up with their needs, he thanked them and moved on.
My writing partner told me that he approached every interaction not from a place of what he could get from them and what he needed, but from a position of opportunity to fill someone's else's needs. He believes that by shifting your focus to fulfilling the needs of another, you will ultimately fulfill your own.