False Starts

False Starts

How hard do you agree with this Elliott Smith lyrics bot? 

In the Baby World, a false start is when a baby wakes up shortly after it was put to sleep. In the Comedy World, a false start is everything you do for the first 10 years.

The stage is empty. The mic is open.
Ideas zoom around like the Jetsons in traffic. 

What exactly is a false start? 

For this post, a false start is anything you attempt to do or create but don't continue. This could be a podcast, a joke, a business, weight loss, a career path — just about anything that takes time and skill development. 

Some prefer to forgo the entire term and prefer slow start instead. It's more optimistic. Just because you're no longer pursuing something doesn't mean it's over. We often conflate the wrong timing with the wrong pursuit. 

That's not the case. Why? 

Skills Compound 

It takes a solid combination of effort, patience and self-kindness to trust the process. Just because something didn't work out the first time doesn't mean it won't work out when you come back to the drawing board — this time with a refreshed skillset. Your skills compound over time so don't give into the pressure of "now". That's a strategy marketers use to get your attention and create demand.

The more you do, the more you learn, the more you know. 

Three examples of False Starts: 

  1. I directed a short film about a holocaust survivor torturing modern day nazis. The entire thing was a garbage fire. Never saw the light of day. 
  2. I wrote a children's book called The Cheese Barron that got deleted by a broken computer. I did not have a back-up. 
  3. I tried to start a non-alcoholic comedy brand called The Dryer. Turns out comedy-goers prefer to drink. 

These are three more obvious examples but I can say with confidence that life is a series of false starts, or slow starts, whatever you want to call them. The importance being on the word... 


How often do we abandon a project simply because we convinced ourselves it wasn't going to work? How often do we make excuses for ourselves instead of allowing the process to do its thing? 

Remember the combo: 

  1. Effort: Consistency matters more than intention 
  2. Patience: Respect that anything worth while takes time 
  3. Self-Kindness: Treating yourself like trash won't change anything  


The only one stopping you is yourself. 


The beauty of forgiving yourself for the things that didn't work out is getting to work on the things that will. 

Take your experience and put it under a microscope. What did you learn from it? How would you go about it differently? 

Sometimes there's a kernel of truth in the idea despite its faulty execution that would be better used in a different form. 

After time passes, lessons have been heard, mindsets and perspectives change — suddenly it's not as hard to see clearly. Once you do, share. Share what you learned and how you got there. 

This is the very reason why I love stand up comedians. Like many artist communities, they learn from each other. They share their ideas, opinions and tricks of the trade as they go. But more importantly they share their stories. Sometimes, that's where you find the most information. 

What about this? 

Last thought for the road. What if we just got rid of the idea of false starts altogether and referred to them as true ends? Isn't that ultimately what we're striving for? To grow into our full potential, create things that will help others, contribute to the world and live a good life? Maybe not everyone's on that vibe but that's the intention behind The Other Comedy Company

We want to open source our knowledge and encourage others in the comedy world to share what they know. This is how we learn and can contribute to each other's success in a positive sum way. No one needs to lose for someone else to win. Even if you're not in the comedy industry directly, the easiest way to dismantle unhealthy systems is by building better, healthier, more functional systems. 

Everyone starts somewhere. Just make sure you start. 


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