Me and a friend went to a night club here in Chicago last night. There was a line when we got there, so I approached the doorman, indicated that I was on the list (I did rsvp earlier) and was about to pull out my id. He said they are only letting in girls and couples at this time, and that they will let in the single guys in a few minute. Now as a side note this isn’t a common occurrence in Chicago, there are probably only a handful of clubs that would do this kind of thing. I mean let’s face it it’s the Midwest not Manhattan or Hollywood. So me and my friend waited in line for 5 minutes or so, nothing is happening so we come up with plan B. Walk over to a nearby bar, try to find 2 friendly girls who would be willing to couple up with us and get us in. We figured the girls would have fun too since it’s a great night club, and they wouldn’t have to pay cover since I’m on the list. We walk into a bar right around the corner, and luckily see 2 cute single girls, engage them in conversation, propose our plan and they agree. Holding hands with our new temporary girlfriends we walk right back up to the doorman. I take out my id, and then the doorman points out that my friend needs a collared shirt to get in, even though he had a pretty stylish Armani Exchange shirt on – I only walked into that store once and walked right back out after seeing the prices Anyway, we try to talk our way out of it, no go. So we had to ditch the girls to go and grab a collared shirt my friend had in his car. Girls wanted to go into the clubs at this point, and I don’t blame them it was a bit cool outside. We grab my friends shit, he puts it on, we come right back up to the doorman. This time he’s giving us a tough time about cutting in front of the other people in line, and tells us to wait back. We wait as they are finally letting guys in, and when we come up to him we ask him what happened to the girls that were with us. He says “They…” pauses for 30 seconds “didn’t want to pay the 20 dollar cover so they left”. I had 2 flags going on in my head immediately, first off if he paused that long in the middle of the answer, he’s probably lying. Secondly, girls weren’t being charged full cover that night ($20) they usually let them in for free. Whatever I figured maybe he is trying to be a douche bag but I’m not letting it ruin my night. We get past the doorman, promoter girl with list asks for my last name, I provide it, and she says she can’t find it on the list. I try to talk my way out of this one, still no go. So me and my friend walk off and decide to go to a different club.
For those interested in visiting Chicago, occurrences like these are pretty rare. People in Chicago are generally a mix of city folk with a friendly Midwestern attitude, which is one of the reasons I enjoy living here. So why am I sharing this story? It’s a great example of how at times no matter how positive, friendly, and optimistic you try to be, there will be difficult people that try to mess with your reality. Of course at the first sign of this you can always end the interaction, and walk away. Me and my friend could have certainly walked away right after we initially got there and noticed there was a line and a rude doorman. Why didn’t I? Well for one that’s the easy thing to do, it’s safe and secure. However one aspect of developing a strong reality is sticking to it when it’s challenged. My reality was that I’m getting into this club tonight and I’m going to have a good time. Of course while I try to have a strong reality and stick to it, I don’t identify with it. What do I mean? Some people if they were forced into this situation would walk off feeling down, angry at the doorman etc. They would simply take it personal. For some people such a small misunderstanding (or set of misunderstandings) can ruin their whole night. Why let it? Well if they identify with their reality and take things personally, they can’t help it. One idea that I’ve been trying to live out lately is that life is just a stage, and we are all playing different roles at different times.
Is that doorman always a mean difficult person? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, I don’t know, but what I do know is that If I was to run into him out at a bar when he’s no longer playing doorman role and is instead out with his buddies having a drink, I could probably strike up a very friendly fun conversation with him. Simply because he would be out trying to have a good time and that would be his reality or his stage role in that situation. Life is a stage and we are all playing different roles at different times. I mean let’s face it, standing outside in cool weather, being a doorman, having to let everyone into the party without being able to join in isn’t that much fun. Does that justify the doorman’s rudeness? Probably not, but who cares who’s right or wrong. Remember everyone is playing a role on life’s stage, it’s not about who’s right or wrong, it’s about who’s having the most fun playing their role. My role for the night (or reality) was going out and having a good time, that’s why I can walk off from that situation and while I’m tempted to get pissed off I can pause, take a few deep breaths, and then go on enjoying the rest of my night.
What’s your role on life’s stage? What’s your reality? Do you let negative difficult people in so that they will mess with you? You probably have several different roles depending on the situation. One might be a professional at work, another could be a great spouse (or a great significant other) with the love of your life, another could be a fun corky friend when you’re out with your buddies, another could be a very analytical logical person when you need to do some math problems, etc. Do any of those roles define you? No. There is no reason whatsoever to attach any of those roles to your ego or your emotional state. Remember your life is a stage play and you are the star.
What’s the advantage of seeing life as a stage and people playing roles?
1. Developing a Stronger Better Reality – When you realize that everyone is playing a role, you no longer have to take everything seriously and personally. Of course you still need constructive feedback from others, especially close friends and relatives that really know you, at the same time though you process it in a logical manner. If a friend for example recommends that you take care of your hygiene a bit more, instead of feeling a spike of negative emotions and an ego kick, you realize that they are trying to be a good friend and give you advice. You can logically decide to agree or discard their advice without any negative emotional baggage. This not only helps you develop and maintain a strong reality, but also helps you welcome constructive feedback, and therefore strengthen and even improve your reality.
2. Higher Quality Relationships – when you realize that everyone is playing a role you no longer feel the need to judge them. For example when you boss is trying to micromanage you at work or is giving you tough time you realize that he’s just trying to play the hard working manager role to the best of his knowledge and abilities. You no longer need to judge your boss negatively or have hidden anger towards him. Does that justify working with a boss you dislike? No. If you really dislike your boss that much then maybe you should start looking for another job with a better manager. The stage roles mentality will help you maintain a healthy relationship with you current boss until you find another job and leave. This way you will not have to burn any bridges and might even be able to use him as a reference if needed.
3. More Opportunities – Often times, our ego, our pride, or various negative emotions that we experience get in the way of many potential opportunities. Let’s say Johnny is out one night, and he is introduced to Claire, he’s attracted to her, yet she ends up rejecting him. Now Johnny could take this personal, feel an ego kick and even start thinking that maybe there is something wrong with him as a guy. He might think maybe he’s not good looking enough, not rich enough not smooth enough, not fun enough and as a result avoids approaching or trying to ask out other cool girls he encounters in his day to day life. If Johnny just realizes that Claire is just playing a role, and the rejection isn’t even about him he’d be much better off. Who says Claire didn’t like him? Maybe she did however she just got out of a long relationship where her ex cheated on her and was just playing the “I don’t trust guys at this moment” role when Johnny ran into her. If Johnny was to realize this, he wouldn’t take rejections personally, and even though he might feel a negative emotional spike when he encounters a rejection, it wouldn’t stop him from approaching other attractive girls in the future.
There are many other advantages that you will experience once you start implementing this mindset. To sum it up you will notice that you are happier, more satisfied, and content with your current life situation.
Warning – While stage roles is a healthy mentality for the most part, it can be dangerous if you don’t have clear personal boundaries. You have to establish and maintain healthy limits in your life. You have to draw clear lines of what actions from others are unacceptable. For example if there is tension between you and your boss that you have tried to resolve several times without any progress, then yes you do need to start looking for another job. However there is no need to create stress by constantly thinking that you have a mean abusive jerk of a boss. You can decide that the job isn’t a good fit without having to judge your boss or other coworkers. Remember they are just playing roles on life’s stage, I’m sure if you would of met your boss under different circumstances you might have formed a totally different opinion of him. Regardless you still need to abide by your personal values and boundaries.