“None can duplicate my brush strokes, none can make my chisel marks, none can duplicate my handwriting, none can produce my child, and in truth, none has the ability to sell exactly as I. Henceforth, I will capitalize on this difference for it is an asset to be promoted to the fullest. I am nature’s greatest miracle. Vain attempts to imitate others no longer will I make. Instead I place my uniqueness on display in the market place. I will proclaim it, yea, I will sell it.”
Reading this part in the Greatest Salesman reminded me of an experience I had my freshman year of college. I was taking a theater class and we had to perform a scene. The teacher had several scenes printed out and my partner and I just picked one. All the other students in the class had to pick scenes with their partners too. The teacher gave us time to practice and then each group had to perform their scene before the class period ended.
I don’t remember exactly what our scene was about, but I remember it was a conversation between two people. As I read over the scene, I formed the opinion that my character was feeling shy and possibly ashamed as she was speaking to the other person. As my partner and I said our lines back and forth, I practiced my lines in a tone and with a body language that portrayed the character as unconfident and withdrawn. The other character was just regular sounding like a normal conversation. We practiced until it was time for the class to come back together and perform their scenes.
Several groups performed and then I saw a girl and her partner go up for their turn. As she started speaking, I realized she was saying the exact same lines I had practiced – it was the same scene! I started freaking out inside because I was caught so off guard. I told the teacher my partner and I had the same scene and he just shrugged it off saying it was fine. The girl performing my same character was saying her lines with enthusiasm and attitude and the body language to match.
I had all these thoughts go through my mind. Did I read the scene wrong? Did I misinterpret the character’s perspective? How was I going to live up to that performance when the audience realized we had the same scene? Would they be bored seeing it again? What am I supposed to do?
I didn’t have any more time to practice with my partner and change it. Our group had to perform soon as class was coming to an end. I decided we would perform it just as we practiced because what else could we do at that point? We went up and did our scene and the audience behaved just about the same as they did for every other performance (no one really cared thankfully).
There were a couple other groups after us that experienced the same thing and their scenes were double casted, which gave me some relief. Later, the teacher commented how he put some of the scenes in twice just to see how each group would bring them to life. I remember being really annoyed because he didn’t tell us that ahead of time and it would have saved me a lot of stress.
Reflecting back on it now, I can see that how I portrayed the character wasn’t right or wrong, it was just a different (unique) angle on the same piece of writing. At that time in my life, I was overwhelmed, depressed, tired, stressed, and I ended up transferring those qualities to my character. The other girl seemed very outgoing, bubbly, and confident and she depicted her character the same way. For me this is evidence of how my inner world created my outer world (Haanel). I understand now that I am nature’s greatest miracle with my own unique gifts and I don’t need to copy or imitate any one that has come before me, even if we experience the same circumstances. I proclaim my uniqueness; show time world!