I have been thinking about writing this and that has been the trouble – I have been thinking about writing this. For the past couple of weeks I have wanted to discuss a situation and a way of working that I seem to have gotten down to an art form – It has probably been my greatest role to date. That of being The Busy Fool.
I recall first hearing the term being coined by Lord Alan Sugar (Sir Alan as he was back then,) on an edition of his TV show the UK version of The Apprentice. Just to explain what or rather who The Busy Fool is, he is someone who spends a great deal of time working hard (in many cases, doing a good job,) but often ends up with little to show for his efforts. I remember discussing the term with a Polish girlfriend of mine at the time and she totally agreed with the sentiment and would remind me of it often – In fact she tried her level best to steer me on a course away from that of Busy Fool.
As I sit here in the early hours of Monday morning, with the 84th Academy Awards on TV, it strangely seems beneficial to actually write about The Art of The Busy Fool, while an Awards Ceremony is being played out where the best of the one percent – i.e. The Best of the Best, are feted and awarded for their efforts – A one percent who are highly talented and very effective. Not a Busy Fool among them.
I am probably being self-deprecating here as I am sure I am not the only person who is going through this, but the trouble is I hardly ever hear anyone else talking about this or are willing to discuss it. So I now have defined what or who The Busy Fool is, now I will pose the questions: Why do I feel I am a Busy Fool? And…Why do I feel I have it down to an art form?
Firstly…Why do I feel I am Busy Fool? Well my entire life (I am not going there,) has been one of being the teenager, the young man, the now middle-aged man who despite his best efforts, hard work, persistence and never say die attitude has consistently failed to land that killer blow that would lead to bigger and better things. I have taken advice, spoken to career specialists (especially during my career as an actor,) and the answer is nearly always the same …You are doing the right thing… You are making all the right moves… You are dead on track. Really!!!?
On paper I tend to agree but the reality says different. Nothing is happening. Well it is happening but it not happening and herein lies the problem. I have paradoxical career – i.e. I have a career, I have a wealth of experience across Film, Television, Theatre and other areas of the media and yet…There is no success. We could go into what exactly constitutes ‘Success’ for my Resume (CV if you will,) says here is a hard working actor who has a wealth of talent and experience (a good measure of success,) which is one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that I am or have hardly made any real money, much less a living from my efforts, hence why I say I have a paradoxical career. I work extremely hard at my career, networking across social media platforms, attending networking events etc. In fact Googling my name always produces a wealth of results. I am doing a whole lot right it seems but not really yielding any long lasting results where other actors I know do so little and yet have successful careers and a comfortable lifestyle, none of which I have – The attributes of The Busy Fool – A whole lot of work, blood, sweat, tears and effort but little if any lasting gain or legacy.
And…Why do I feel I have The Busy Fool down to an art form? Look at my career to date. There can be no success without a great deal of sacrifice and boy, have I been making sacrifices. My Life (still not going there,) has been very similar right the way down the line. The shit I have had to put up with from Mother and younger siblings could be described as an abuse and infringement of my Human Rights but I am still not going there. They no longer play any part in my life so let us leave it there. 2010 and 2011 respectively has seen me do more acting and photographic work than I have done in the previous seven years and I am proud of that fact. When I took a leap of faith and focussed less on temping work and more on all things acting, things started to happen. The only downside to this was that the jobs were either badly paid and/or if they were well-paid, one had so many problems getting paid on time that one’s fee disappeared in bank charges for being overdrawn. I could go on and I will.
The Busy Fool as an ‘Art Form’ discuss. When one puts as much effort into their career as I do on a daily basis, you are working and creating an art form and when that work of art does not materialise or is not realised nor recognised, then one has achieved that ultimate and most dubious of accolades – That of The Busy Fool. If you are living with your ambitions, your aspirations, your dreams, your ambitions on a daily basis, going to bed with it all, dreaming about it, getting up with it, travelling with it each and every single day and despite everything you do, you are still not going on to the next level, then you are indeed The Busy Fool. And while all this is happening people will look down at you, they will despise you, laugh at you, write you off. And as long as you are failing at all you do so the status quo will remain. But one day, a time will come when all the hard work, effort and the Art of the Busy Fool will be realised and things will begin to happen. All that hard work, effort and failure will begin to pay off. Those who despised you, wrote you off as a loser, may well despise you that much more. They may well talk about the time when they knew you when you were struggling, had nothing, went out to work for little and nothing. They will sound proud to have known you when you were struggling, on the way (not that they realised it). They will never ever mention that they couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger to help you with words of encouragement if nothing else. What will be undeniable is that they will no longer be laughing at you or about you because they will realise they had you wrong all along.
There can be no success without sacrifice and some are more willing to make that sacrifice on a greater and higher level than others. I count myself among that select number who are prepared to do what takes to fulfil not just their ambition, dreams and aspirations but to actually live them.