"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." -- Raymond Chandler
You need ability, or talent, to do something. I have tried learning to play a musical instrument, but I have no talent for it. No matter how hard I try, I can't achieve much.
Clowning is also a talent. Not everyone can become a clown. Victor Vladimirov, former director of the Moscow State College of Circus arts said, "We can't teach clowning. We can advise, encourage, and teach skills, but if you don't have the clown inside it can't come out."
Your ability, or talent, is not fixed. It is a range of what you are capable of doing. There is a minimum you can accomplish if you rely on your talent alone. There is a maximum potential you will not be able to surpass no matter how hard you work. The important thing is not how much talent you have, but how much you do to approach your potential. Jim Howle is a graduate of the Ringling College of Art in Sarasota, Florida. According to Jim, students there weren't graded on how well they did, but on how much they improved. Students could have the best natural talent and produce great work but still flunk a course if they didn't improve during the semester. It doesn't matter what range of ability your talent provides, the important thing is whether you work to come closer to the top of your range.
Your motivation determines how hard you are willing to work to approach your potential. There are many motives for becoming a clown or other entertainer. It might be financial, enjoyment, altruism, using it as a tool to teach a message, or a combination of these and other factors. The strength of your motivation determines if you continue when encountering an obstacle or endure during the slow times. Sometimes people are clowns for a short time because they discover they have met their goals and they switch to other pursuits. That is okay.
But hard work is not enough. Your attitude determines how well you do something. If you resent having to do something, you don't put forth your best effort. I have worked hard to develop the ability to illustrate my writing. When I look at illustrations I have done for my magazine articles I can definitely tell the difference in drawings that I churned out just to get them finished before deadline, and those that I enjoyed doing because I loved the subject matter. I know that the best performances that I have given are those that I did because I enjoyed it.
What happens if you have a performance scheduled and you don't feel like it? An old phrase is "fake it until you can make it." Attitude often follows actions. I find if I don't feel like doing a performance, but force myself to act like I am having a good time, before long my mood changes and I actually begin to enjoy it.
If you are in a leadership position in a variety arts organization, your biggest job may be to boost the morale of your members. Last November I received a thank you card from the local Boy Scout Council thanking me for my work as a volunteer leader in the Cub Scout program. I reread it several times over the next few days, and it certainly boosted my enthusiasm for working with Scouts. If members of an organization feel the leaders are aware of their efforts and appreciate them, they are less likely to burn out and more likely to increase their participation.
What is your motivation for being an entertainer? What can you do to strengthen your motivation? What is your attitude towards being an entertainer? What can you do to improve your attitude? If you are a leader in an organization what can you do to make members feel appreciated? How can you boost the morale of other leaders in the group?