Vulnerability and Hope

He was an extremely shy person who made a point to avoid all forms of social encounters. But he was also one of the greatest comedians of all times. In fact, many successful comedians patterned their routines after his comic genius. He rarely gave interviews and most contact with him was through a close friend who was also his agent. The day he retired, he decided to give an interview to an aspiring journalism student from his alma mater. The following is an excerpt of the interview.

T.M. (journalism student):   You are well known as our greatest comedian and virtual recluse. How do those match?

G.C. (comedian):                  My fear of social situations has been a great vulnerability, but I believe it’s also my greatest strength as a comedian.

T.M.:                                        How so?

G.C.:                                       When I confronted my fear of social situations, I realized that I had no control over the outcome from these situations. I needed to develop courage to connect with others even when I couldn’t control the outcome.  I lost my fear of failure when I understood my vulnerability. If you are going to be a great comedian, you have to put yourself on stage and do your routine without fear of how your routine will go over. What I realized was that my vulnerability would bring joy into the lives of others. That joy was what I thought about prior to every show.

T.M.:                                        But your vulnerability apparently didn’t extend to making you comfortable in social situations?

G.C.:                                       That’s right. What made my vulnerability work on stage was the joy I could deliver to others. When I’m in a social setting I don’t sense that same joy.

T.M.:                                        You have been described as a recluse. Is that accurate?

G.C.:                                       I don’t think so. I have very close friends with whom I have strong emotional connections. Again, these are people who I can help and they are supportive of me.

Those who realize their vulnerabilities can achieve success because they accept the fact that they can’t be perfect in all things. G.C. capitalized on his vulnerability by learning to bring joy to others through his comedy. He also realized that it’s ok to avoid those things where he wasn’t comfortable. Rather than to consider a vulnerability as a liability, we need to view them as a path to success.

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“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jami (Author)

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