The Performance Artist in All of Us

It goes without saying that a core characteristic of any re-booter is their creative impulse. Inherent in the desire to re-boot lays the realization that there are alternatives to how we currently live our lives, combined with a curiosity about what those alternatives might be. The simple fact that you are even aware such possibilities exist and are willing to explore them demonstrates how much you revere and respect innovation.


We each come into this world somewhere on the spectrum of how much we utilize our imagination. This sort of intellectual curiosity is not to be confused with traditional depictions of a creative mind: visual artists splattered with paint, the tortured, drunken writer, the erratic and moody musician. Such types may garner the lion’s share of attention for their creativity, but they do not define the parameters—much of what they do should be labeled juvenile and pathetic. “Look at me!” they scream. “I’m so crazy! I defy you all!” Exhibit A of this sort of tiresome “envelope pushing” is Lady Gaga’s “performance art” at SXSW. When I hear of such demonstrations, I can’t help but recall Queen Gertrude’s famous observation, “The lady doth protest too much.”


In contrast, I contend that inherent in creativity is a beauty and finesse that doesn’t need to shout. As re-booters, how you re-define yourself, your goals, and your life can demand far more mental agility and risk taking because you are doing it within and against the weight of centuries and generations’ worth of tradition and established expectations. Of course, this deeply personal and quiet revolution can have enormous reverberations on those around us, but we don’t need to shout in order to be effective. We need only live our lives in a determined, confident manner consistent with who we now are. Does what I’m saying make any sense?


What makes re-booters’ struggle heroic is the fact that they are willing to pursue this path at all. This is not for the faint of heart. My wish for you is that everyday, you vow to be brave, you vow to test the limits of something that doesn’t sit right with you, that holds a dissonance for the person you wish to be and how you want to live your life. It needn’t be showy, there’s no call to vomit on anyone, you just have to quietly try a new way. This quietly brave act is your performance art.


For those of us who need occasional bolstering in this department, I encourage you to seek out fellow journeymen. Who do you know who’s forged their own path? Talk to them about their experience, ask questions, see if what they say has any resonance for you. The same strategies won’t work for all of us, but they do help prop open the door. Recently, a friend came to me wanting to discuss a fundamental shift in their life’s direction—made all the more formidable because they know few peers who are confronting such dilemmas, so they skewed older and came to me. Good, great, I’m delighted to help them sort out the questions they may want to ask. I have none of the answers, but if I can help them feel less alone, that goes a long way.


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2 Responses to “The Performance Artist in All of Us”

  1. Julie Says:

    Great post, Rett, even if the drunken writer hits a little too close to home for me… 🙂

  2. dignitarysretreat Says:

    Stereotypes always have a grain of truth in them, don’t they?

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