Patton Oswalt, who voices the title character in Ratatouille, is a very funny, honest stand up comedian. He writes an incredibly entertaining blog on his website. One fairly recent post listed his three personal affirmations. I wanted to share this one which involves focus and the creative process.
He starts the story as a poor, young comedian, sharing a comedy condo with a headliner. A comedy condo is basically the free housing you get to use while you play the club. The headliner got the bigger room with a waterbed and huge TV. Patton got the small, bare room with a bed, a chair and a clock radio. Bored in his room, Patton went out for some food, when he got back the headliner was waiting for him and had been all afternoon.
"I went into your room," he said.
I said, "Oh."
"The clock radio in my bedroom only has one alarm. Yours has two alarms and a snooze option. So I swapped them out. I wanted to make sure you knew what I did, so I’ve been waiting here."
I said, "Oh."
"I mean, you realize, me being the headliner, you having two alarms and a snooze option, as the emcee, is unfair." Now that I write this, I remember now that he stressed the word "unfair".
"Yyyyyeah," I said, but my heart was filling with joy.
This was the first time in my life — and in my still-neophyte stand-up career — when I realized that certain douchebags I was encountering wouldn’t be in my life four or five years later. A headliner who could waste an afternoon over an extra alarm and a snooze option on an $8 clock radio wasn’t going to be pursuing the same career that I would. He’d fight for petty privileges, live and die by the approval of the dumbest person in the audience, and think getting on the 5 O’Clock Funnies entitled him to a sitcom.
The affirmation: Leave them to their fates.
There are two other affirmations in the post. I recommend it.