BE THE BULLS-EYE
How you can add power to the world
Have you ever been at a comedy club, or any kind of live performance, a book signing maybe, where the audience was a little slow on the uptake and nobody was applauding when they should have been?
Have you ever been the person to start clapping first?
Usually it’s only a second, if that, before the next people join in and the clapping ripples across the previously subdued crowd.
And you smile to yourself, thinking, hey, I did this.
That comedian or singer or speaker was bumming at the lull but I came in like a superhero and changed the vibration in the room.
If it’s a comedy show, maybe you laughed first, which is very contagious.
From all the comedy shows we have produced, my take is that 40% of laughter in a proper comedy club setting is a result of the people around you laughing.
The rest is in direct relation to the talent on stage.
When you clap first, you are changing the dynamics of more than just the room’s vibration. You are closing the loop with the artist, the feedback loop that has to be fully charged in order for art to flourish.
As writers, we put ourselves out there, out here, out everywhere.
We aren’t in need of real time feedback like live performers, but we do appreciate knowing if our words have pierced anyone, found a kindred spirit, effected a sublime resonance.
Clapping first for a writer’s article or essay on Medium is like being the sensitive soul in the crowd at a live event where the moment for applause has come but only silence persists.
You’re the one who gets it, you’re the one who goes, oh f**k, nobody’s clapping and that poor soul up there is dying inside.
You keep your hands low as you smack them together, loud enough to be heard by those around you, who in turn mimic, nay echo, nay expound on your initial sharp percussive sound of sonic approval with motions of their own hands, a repeating action that fans out further now, in concentric circles — you at the bulls-eye — until the whole crowd is engaged in thunderous applause.
You did this! You may not appreciate it, but you sustained a life. The life of an artist.
This isn’t about cheerleading.
This isn’t about open encouragement.
This is about saving the spark of someone putting themselves out there through a selfless gesture that finds traction and gets amplified, turning the insecurity attempting to find purchase inside our artist’s psyche into bold confidence.
All this in turn manifests itself in even greater performances emanating from our artist, rewarding you, the prime mover, the catalyst, with even greater pleasure from an ever more elevated performance.
There are not many unexplored parts of this planet. We aren’t pioneers moving west. But you can still be a leader, you can be out front.
You can clap first.
Unless they really suck.
Then just sit on your hands, maybe wondering if now is a good time to hit the bathroom.