THE BLOG

Acting After Illness #9 Opportunity

26/05/2017 13:43
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Opportunity and opportunities are two words, two moments, two possibilities that I was not aware of growing up.

Nor did they ever appear as part of my school curriculum.

Nobody ever spoke to me about opportunities.

Nor did they appear in my working life.

Nobody ever said to me look for opportunities to make your life better and other people's lives better too.

They, whoever they might be, said things like "grin and bear it", "make do and mend". "wait until you're asked" and "that report's due Friday".

And this is what I believed.

When you hear something often enough you believe it.

Your thinking becomes black and white, distorted, polarized.

Through your own thinking you can close the doors on opportunity and opportunities to make your life better and the lives of others too.

Thinking like this leads you down a road of wanting perfection, which, of course doesn't exist and everything is either black or white.

The only place you are going to end up when you think like this is somewhere called miserable.

I was thinking like that.

I had a brain haemorrhage.

I survived.

Everything changed.

I have spoken before about the shame I felt. That I, had in some way, done something wrong to cause this abnormality in my head to bleed.

I cried. I cried a lot.

The neuropsychologists told me if you want to change the way you feel, the way you see the world and the way you play in the world, all you need to do is change your thoughts.

It's that simple.

It works.

Changing your thinking opens doors to opportunity and opportunities.

Negative miserable people say to me "But this..." and "But that..."

These people cast gloom over themselves and all the people they come in contact with.

They wallow in self-pity and in their pessimistic views.

They close the doors on opportunity and opportunities.

What a way to live.

And what a poor use of your brain and mind.

This week marks three months since my father died. This, for me, was an opportunity to mark his passing.

I took myself to the theatre.

My Dad liked the theatre.

I saw Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

There in front of me, I watched George (Conleth Hill) and Martha (Imelda Staunton), consciously choosing to destroy any opportunities of happiness. Instead they reached for thoughts, choices, illusions, that confirmed and compound the ugliness of their marriage.

Who would want to live like that?

Many people do.

I am nearing a big scan. An angiogram which will look at arteries and veins in my head using a special dye and a camera which will take pictures of the blood flow through the AVM.

People ask me if I am scared.

Not at all.

Alfred Hitchcock said "There's no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

I see the angiogram as an opportunity to see what's going on inside my head. From this, I can create new plans and find new ways forward - create and conjure up new opportunities.

This is what polarised thinking I've talked about denies you - the reaching for new opportunities, new experiences, and new relationships.

Perhaps Hitchcock would say that thinking like this is "A MacGuffin" - something that people pursue, but in essence, it is nothing at all.

I am busy looking for new opportunities with my acting work too. I want to take my work as an actor to the next level and so I am working on building and making connections.

Richard Wiseman is a professor of Public Understanding at the University of Hertfordshire and he has written several books on popular psychology.

From his research he has found that people can generate good luck from becoming skilled at creating and noticing opportunities.

I am making my own opportunities. I am creating my own good luck.

David will be appearing in Sweeties #3 as part of the Camden Fringe 2017 at the Camden Peoples Theatre on the 3rd of August.

David can be reached via his agent Sam Brown at Brown and Mills. London.

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