Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

How Have You Improved?

I watched back-to-back Tron the other night–the 1982 original and the new, Tron: Legacy. I have strong memories of being very impressed with every aspect of the original and thought it would be fun to see “Part Two”.  What a revelation to compare them!

It’s not surprising that the original Tron was much less technically sophisticated–29 years will do that. (It almost looked like a 1950s space invader set, in spite of how advanced we thought it was then.)

The big surprise was the tremendous improvement in the appearance, stage presence and performance of  Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges. (Both who had already established themselves as excellent actors.)

At first I thought the difference might have been because of the director or simply the script. However, David Warner did his usual superb job, so it couldn’t have been that completely. I’m also quick to say that I don’t watch many movies (as opposed to cinema, film or talkies), so I’m only an audience member, not a critic that counts. However, I am capable of comparison and there was an obvious difference. 

I recall reading that Harrison Ford won’t watch Star Wars because he doesn’t want to see his looks and acting then. I read an interview in which someone asked Cary Grant what he thought when he watched himself in his classic performances and he said he never did, to avoid embarrassment about the way he delivered lines in his younger acting days. I guess we all can spot our imperfections–and actors are likely more aware of them and sensitive to them than most.

It’s a shame you don’t have video of yourself doing routine work over a period of several days, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or thirty years ago. I wish you did, because you would see how much you have improved and in how many ways. You look older now and maybe less fit or more wrinkled. You may have looked more energized then. Nevertheless, I’ll bet that now you have many more insights and much more confidence, knowledge and skills. If you are still young you may think back a fewer number of years, but you may notice an even more dramatic difference in your approach to work and life.

No matter how far back you are thinking, situations that seemed very challenging to you then would seem easy to deal with now. Things that were confusing, frightening, stressful or angering then, would seem like minor issues now, because you know the background and you know how to respond. If you could see yourself at work years ago you would probably cringe at your youthful poor judgment, your inexperienced errors and your ill-informed perspectives. You’ve grown, matured and improved. Good for you!

Now, use that awareness to give you patience and empathy for newer employees. Talk to older or more-tenured employees and encourage them to relive some of their glory days and what they remember as good times for the organization. Smile at the reality that if you’re still around, you’ll be even better in five more years or ten years. Seriously, you will keep getting better as long as you are mentally and emotionally active and wanting to improve.

I’ll be anxious to see how much more impressive Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges are in Tron: To The Tenth Power.

June 1st, 2011 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 11 comments