5 Things I Learned from Jerry Seinfeld

January 5, 2015

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Little known fact about me: I’ve been a fan of Seinfeld for most of my life. I used to remember it would play late at night, around 11pm, and I would watch it until I would fall asleep. It’s remained one of my favorite shows to this day and as I entered adulthood, I began to really appreciate it in a way that I couldn’t when I was still just a kid. This is one of the reasons I always recommend revisiting shows, films, music, books, etc. that you loved growing up because most of the time you’ll find them even better now that you have the capability to understand what’s really being said. I’ve learned a lot from Jerry Seinfeld over the past year that it was almost difficult to narrow it down to 5 things. Here goes…

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Over the summer, I came across this article about “The Seinfeld Strategy”. In short, it was a recollection of an aspiring comedian’s run-in with Jerry Seinfeld. The aspiring comedian asked Jerry if he had any advice for how he could become a better and more successful comedian.

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.

“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”

Jerry mentioned nothing about focusing on results, in fact, one could argue the whole strategy was designed to take off the pressure and stress that comes along with wanting to create something amazing every time. The point is to show up and focus on just doing. You’ll probably come up with some subpar stuff every now and then, but if you don’t sit down and sit through the mediocre, you won’t experience creating the good stuff. So forget about perfection because that will keep you procrastinating forever. Instead, just focus on the actually doing, focus on showing up, and be consistent about it.

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PORTION CONTROL

Jerry Seinfeld has mentioned in a number of interviews that portion control is very important to him. His theory is that too much of a good thing can eventually turn people off. I believe one analogy he used is a cake. You can have a slice of a really delicious cake and really enjoy every bite. If you were to sit down and eat that entire cake though, you probably wouldn’t feel as positively about it. This is something to think about in every area of your life. Leave them wanting more and don’t overstay your welcome.

TM / TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION

 

 

The last people I would ever expect to be into meditation would probably be Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but these are two practical, dare I say, cynical men. When I would think of meditators I pictured people that worship crystals and burn incense and don’t give a damn about money beyond meeting their basic needs. While I think crystals are pretty for decoration, I’m not one of those people and Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern aren’t those kinds of people either.

I’ve heard and read plenty about the benefits of meditation, especially from Russell Simmons, but I never really took it in. However, while watching this extra clip that was cut from Howard Stern’s episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, I decided I’d do some more research. I was astounded by how many people were swearing by Transcendental Meditation. I had it in the back of my mind as it wasn’t necessarily a cheap thing to try and I was a bit weary of anything that was so simple but required me to spend around $1k to learn. After a rocky summer, I took the plunge and I’ve been practicing TM on an almost daily basis since. I haven’t really gotten around to making getting it in 2x a day work with my schedule just yet but I’ve already noticed an overall difference in my mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing with just once a day. I’ll definitely get into more detail about how this has changed my life in a future post. Yes, Jerry Seinfeld changed my life.

HANDLING BOTH YOUR FAILURES & SUCCESSES

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Success and failure go hand in hand. One doesn’t exist without the other. We all fail at things, we all stumble and tumble off course every now and then. It’s easy to make big moves and get loud and proud when you’ve been seeing success in your life but that can get you into trouble when you eventually experience failure. When you experience failure and feel defeated it’s easy to recoil and hide. The point is to keep things level so that you can see things clearly and realistically and act accordingly. Don’t let your head get too big that you get comfortable and don’t let yourself stay down when you’re feeling down. You’ve got to always be prepared to take on the next thing that comes your way and see it coming.

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NEVER STOP

Jerry Seinfeld is worth more money than most people would even know what to do with. He doesn’t need to keep working. He doesn’t need to keep working on new shows and ideas. He doesn’t need to continue testing out material at random comedy clubs around NYC. But he does. He keeps it going because he loves what he does. It’s who he is. There’s something to be admired about someone that remains that passionate about something


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