Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter.
Being in the market, one must compete, for it is competitive by its very nature. There are other people who are looking for the same resources that you have, the same opportunities.
You must be smart and prepare yourself.
Athletes train intensely for competition. They put their bodies into the best form they can possibly achieve, so as to increase their odds of winning.
So too must we, as artists, condition ourselves. We need to not only be physically fit (for fit bodies can withstand exhaustion and operate at a fuller capacity), but our technique must be as sharp as a razor (you know that, like a farm tool, technique dulls over time, if not used).
Never…and I mean NEVER underestimate your opponents or competitors. Never, for a moment, assume that they are benevolent and working for the common good. They may be, and that is really great, if so. When competing or engaging in conflict of any sort, most people shift into a survival mode mentality and act in ways that one can describe as aggressive, cunning, and harsh. After all, if one is competing in their job (aka their livelihood and ability to sustain a family), they are going to act like mama bears, if provoked.
Think about our origins as the human species. To quote Tennessee Williams from his play The Glass Menagerie:
Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter…
In the market, you need to utilize your hunter instincts, as you are hunting for opportunity, for resources, for connections that might propel you forward.
As an artist and/or entrepreneur, you are engaging the lover, who is motivated by his or her passions.
Competing for territory or resources taps you into your fighter.
As the fighter, be aware. Know that your opponent, as a fighter too, is unpredictable.
In the game of fighting, expect the unexpected, so that you can respond in the moment, when conflict or blow manifests. And, as any good fighter would do, engage your opponent in a way that is not only defensive but also simultaneously offensive.
It is no wonder that so many business colleges, as well as war colleges, use Sun Tzu’s ancient text “The Art of War”. At times, the entertainment (and I capitalize business) Business feels very much like a battlefield.
One dramatically increases one’s chances of success, simply by persevering, by staying in the game.
In Arts Entrepreneurship development, we must use our natural instincts. We must engage the hunter, the lover and the fighter at once.
Jim Hart is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.