My Mt. Everest | June 2006 Newsletter

My Mount Everest: June, 2006
Merle M. Singer, Founder

My Mt. Everest.com is bringing some wonderful conversations my way. I had two different conversations this month (one via email) that brought a different nuance to the concept of challenging yourself with Your Mt. Everest project.

Stand-Up Comedy is Easy — for Some People

I was telling a friend about my Stand Up Comedy Class. Yes, I just finished one class, and the new one starts in July. You can come and see me at Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose, 4-7pm on Sunday, 8/27/06 if you happen to be in town. It certainly is scary; I think that’s the point. The rest of the point is that I am expressing myself every way I can. But that’s another story.

My friend said that he had performed stand-up for a while a long time ago. I asked why he stopped. He said that it was soooo easy. His humor centered on his family, and, therefore, he had an ennnndless supply of material. It seemed to him as if he were cheating by not having to reach far for his topics. How could he be good with no effort?

Is Easy Bad?

It’s a different twist. Here the challenge seems to be to do and to respect something that is so easy for you. Where do we get the idea that something easy is bad? Where do we get the idea that something needs to be very difficult to be worthy of our attention? Fill in your own answers. I certainly have never heard anyone say “work easy.” It’s always “work hard.”

Even for most of the things that are difficult at the beginning (i. e.: geometry or playing the piano), eventually it gets easier. And just when it is easy (either from the beginning or eventually) is really where it all starts. You can start having fun with it. The added nuances that you bring to your skill or expertise is where you continue to challenge yourself. And if you keep going, you get good enough to share it, teach it.

There is a Place in the Scheme of Things for “Easy”

If, on the other hand, all you do are the difficult things for you, it’s the same as reading hundreds of books, but only the first chapter of each one —- no satisfaction, nothing learned, nothing to talk about.

I was very good at yoga about 20 years ago. I stopped because, “Well, I did that; now what?” “Now what!’ is currently, 20 years later, I’m not able to take up where I left off. Even after almost a year, I’m not yet up to where I left off. I miss out on the nuances and extra fun that comes with expertise. Even so, I find value and joy in what I’m doing.

I received an email from RW. She responded to “having fun.” She lapsed into a written reverie of her own life.

” I remember before I was married and used to have FUN, take risks, not afraid to meet a new challenge. My mom’s favorite saying to me was always “when are you going to settle down and be responsible?”

Can you have fun while being responsible?

RW concluded that fun and responsible were not compatible behaviors. So now, RW is post-marriage, post-children at home, post-parent care, and still living as if fun, risk, and challenge (if not work-related) is immoral. She continued,

“Then those days hit that I feel that old fire that wants to be irresponsible again – to learn to have fun again and laugh – geez I realized the other day I just don’t laugh anymore.”

If dour days of self-sacrifice are what you practice, dour days of self-sacrifice are what you do even though it is no longer functional. So RW concludes,

“On those days I want to get in my car and just drive off to wherever it takes me and start all over – then the words come back “responsible.” So I go to bed, and get up the next day and start all over again.”

Summary

Don’t be frightened away from something because it is easy or fun or frivolous. Make the very ease of it your challenge.

“Maybe how hard or easy isn’t the issue. Instead, how fun is it?” MMS


“Every game ever invented by mankind, is a way of making things hard for the fun of it!”

John Ciardi (1916-1986), American Poet