(Off) Stage Anxiety

Discussion Facilitator: Tod Fiste. October 12, 2019

Tod brought in this excerpt from the Conan O’Brien Fresh Air interview: October 2, 2019.

“When you're a performer, when you're on stage, there's no thinking. You just have to act. There's no time to think. You just do. And so for that time that you're in front of people, in a weird, crazy way, you'd think that the anxiety would be at its peak. And it's not. Everything goes away because there's no time. You're just in front of them. And you just react. And you completely rely on your muscle memory and your inner clown that's been there since you were born. And you just go. And it's very liberating, and it's really freeing.

The problem is when it's over and you need to negotiate - then you have to start thinking again about, well, what's tomorrow and what are we going to do. And then it's all back in your brain, you know? It's not you just sort of reacting out of your diaphragm or your soul or whatever. You're back in your brain. And that's where the problems start. So when I say it's time to be depressed again after a show, it's much better now. I mean, now I go home, and I see my wife and kids and deal with whatever they're dealing with. And - so it's different. And, you know, it's not it's not the way it used to be. I used to go home and brood about what am I going to do next, and what's tomorrow, and how was that show. And if it was a good show, can we replicate it tomorrow? If it was a bad show, oh, my God, how are we going to make up for that? What will people think? There's less of that now.”

We talked about situations in everyday life when we wind ourselves in flow and when we find ourselves overthinking.

Bruce Cantwell