The other evening I was watching the Russell Peters’ show. A notorious live wire on stage, it is difficult not to get picked on by the naughty glint in his eyes. Having exploded in 2004 after some video clips from his performance went viral on the Internet, he amassed a large following of loyal fans soon after.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to see the guy perform live until now, I enjoy him picking up the audiences from the TV here itself and smirk. I nonchalantly realized how the guy teaches us some simple lessons of life, the ones we know but forget due to the daily humdrum routine, the ones that are at play in our subconscious minds, the ones that we know but forget to remind ourselves.
The life lessons would make you emerge from the article not only a tad funnier but also sunnier and wiser.
1. Stereotypes are not so bad after all!
Peters is notoriously known for utilizing the stereotypical traits of a certain origin and bashing it up humorously. In many of his shows he though clarifies that “I don’t make the stereotypes, I just see them”.
A leaf to be taken out of this is to recognize the stereotypical trait that you possess as individuals or belong to a separate race and revel in it. Be it your accent as Indians, features in case of Chinese or Japanese or the way you speak Spanish being a Mexican. Smile as this stereotype of yours sets you apart from the crowd.
2. Don’t get bullied.
Peters was bullied in his school days in Canada and look at him now picking on everyone to get back. Well that was just for the laughs; Peters took up boxing lessons to actually combat the bullying that he faced! He says “Stand-up and boxing are very similar. You’re the only one out there, you’re going into a fight, and you’re going in with a game plan.”
Similarly in life, don’t always give in to the pressure or stress induced by anything, be it people or situations.Of course it is going to be difficult and you will be hurt (“Somebody gonna get hurt a real bad”). Instead if life bullies you, give it back and be a bully to fight your problems. Always have a game plan ready to protect yourself.
3. With confidence, you can be the undisputed king.
Russell Peters oozes dollops of confidence when he is on stage. His body language speaks volumes of his confidence even when he is saying something objectionable. Such is the charm of the guy. But still he says “No matter where you are, the root of you is designed from a young age. So if my confidence was taken as a child, you can gain back a lot of the confidence, but that root of the cavity will still be there”.
Likewise in life get the confidence thing run in your veins. It’s OK to fall down at times and scathe your confidence as you will only emerge stronger ready to face the world again. They say even if you are wrong at times, say it unflinchingly, it would be turn out to be right somehow.
4. Explore yourself before settling for something.
Peters in his “struggling” days had many roles before settling down as a stand-up comedian. He was a DJ and a hip hop junkie. He said “I’m a hip-hop junkie. I’ve been listening to the music for over 20 years”. “That’s very much shaped who I am and the way I think, how I look at things and how I dress, how I carry myself”. He also wrote a book and acted in few movies while having established himself to an extent.
In life, sometimes we don’t know what we are passionate about. Or maybe we know the destination but can’t figure out which road to follow. At times like these, it’s OK to do what we feel is best at the moment. Travelling alone, choosing a different route to work or taking a break in a career are some of the ways to enrich your experience. Important thing is to love what we do and eventually we would find our own way.
5. Having wanderlust makes you rich.
“I am always amazed at how much people ‘get’ when I’m performing overseas”.
Having said that wherever you go in life, take back a little from each place you have lived in. Exploring different places makes you richer. Give a little and get back even more.
6. It’s OK to laugh at yourself.
While not sparing anyone in the audience for their looks, race or accent, Peters doesn’t even mind making jokes about himself. He says “I’ve seen people laugh at every other group, but then clam up when it comes to their community. You can’t laugh at everyone else and then not laugh at yourself. You shouldn’t be at my show if you can’t laugh at yourself”.
The best thing in life is to have a few laughs within. Remember and smile off those times, you have slipped accidentally and fell. The times that you made a fool of yourself by saying something stupid in public, the times when you dated somebody unworthy only to find that you are with an amazing person now. Smile and laugh at your past and even present faux paus and look ahead.
7. Talking Dirty, Umm Really?
Peter’s tongue-in-the-cheek and use of some offensive lingo have had raised many raised eyebrows in the past. But the humor and the approach associated with the words and actions fades all the anticipated awkward moments. On using other people’s comedy ideas he says “It’s like wearing another man’s underwear. Why would you do that?”
Although awkward, talking dirty is fun sometimes. Talking dirty or discussing something vulgar makes you connect with your friends and even can help your relationship grow stronger! Yes, this too has been scientifically proved. Your comfort level and rapport with the people around you too grows if you talk on topics such as sex or the lack of it. Simple it makes you comfortable in your own skin.
8. Danger is everywhere, watch out!
Peters is everywhere! You can’t possibly escape his omnipresence. One moment he is talking about his Dad and his funny encounters with him and the next moment, he picks up a Dad and his kid in the audience and takes a dig at them. Nothing ever escapes his observant eyes.
In short, life is like that. Be on your guard and stay vigilant while you are here. Danger in the form of an unproductive job, bad relationship, health problems, finances maybe lurking nearby and you would have dismissed them or busy making other plans. Only to be met with dire consequences at a later date! So watch out for the danger signs in your life.
9. Dare to be different.
While choosing a career people are usually attracted to the conventional ones. Peters dared to be different and went where his heart took him. He says” I like the sound of laughter. I was the guy in the group of friends that would always make the friends laugh. And everyone was like, ‘You should do stand up,’ so I gave it a shot, and ta-da! They were right”.
It took him some time to reach where he is now. In midst of all the biggies of American comedian kings like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, he carved a niche and has stood on his own.
10. It’s OK to make mistakes.
Like any other person, Peters has made mistakes or should we say lessons? He himself refers to his rushed up marriage turned a quick divorce as one of them. I am not sure of the rest but surely he has emerged as stronger from his mistakes.
Everyone has done somethings in the past some of which we may not be so proud of or may have done those things back then in the heat of the moment. That’s perfectly ok and mistakes make you more human. Learning from them, bouncing back and putting them behind you is more vital.
11. Cross the cultural barrages.
“I’ve never had to change my act on my international shows; I just make sure that I’ve taken some time to get to know the people in those countries before I perform. That’s been really useful”.
I don’t know how many feel the presence of a unity in diversity concept amid all the laugh riots and guffaws when Peters performs. Or the audience always consists of a mixed race of Americans, Indians, Chinese, Europeans, British, Spanish and of course Mexicans. What could be a better way to have all the people of different origins sit back and enjoy a show? Or things that one discovers about his Mexican friend or Chinese boss are hilarious as well as knowledgeable.
Don’t stay huddled up in your groups or comfort zones. Talk to somebody whose language you don’t know or make friends with someone from a different continent. The benefits are immense and fun.
12. Don’t forget your roots.
“The fans in Canada have been there since day one. They’re the originals. When people say that’s your roots, that’s literally my roots. I’ve just cut this tree off and replanted it somewhere else and it started growing. But the roots are there”.
You may be a globe trotter but always remember your roots. Those might be the ones that have got you so far. It’s important you stay grounded and remember the place that you belong to and the values that you grew up with.
13. You may not always get your due.
Peters is now by all means more than just a money making man. He is riding new success waves but has mentioned in many of his interviews that he still feels the need to be accepted. He says “I’m not a media darling. I’m forever the outsider, for whatever the reason is”. The fortune is there but he is still known as America’s unknown comedian. The reason here are his endorsements and his un-Hollywood connections. But look at where the guy has made without it.
Life’s complexities are the same way. You need back up, references and pre-introductions from almost everything in life nowadays. A job, a hook up and even to get something that you deserve completely you need to stoop sometimes and ask for it. Well that’s the shorter version. The harder and the tougher version as everybody knows is to avoid shortcuts and work painlessly to reach your goal. Get something easy and that won’t be that sweet.
14. Always remember people who care.
“I have a phenomenal memory. I remember every single thing that anybody said to me, ever did to me, who was nice to me and who was not nice to me. In the business at least. And I see how these guys react to me. It’s all smiles and ‘I’m so glad to see ya! You’re doing really well!’ I’m like, ‘Wait, I remember you being a dick to me back in the day’.” Peters admits unabashedly that he never forgets who were not so good to him in the past. which is but natural isn’t?
Sometimes in life we ought to be the same way. While you may not be able to forget about who let you down also remember to acknowledge people who had been kind to you. This helps you to be thankful and to be reminded at times that although some people try to put you down but there are others who silently care.
15. Every Peters has his own day!
Peters started his career way back in 1989 and he had to wait a good 15 years to taste success in 2004. I doubt if some of us had reflected on this, did we? The guy whose crackpot jokes and impeccable digs would have left you with tears of joy didn’t see success soon. So walk a mile in his shoes, before you get judgmental.
Like Peters getting his shares of days, you are not too far off. A dream job, a world tour, the perfect match, the 4 bedroom apartment beside the lake and the perfect body, everything is there waiting for you. It may be a while but you will get there. How soon or fast depends upon your honest and untiring efforts. So keep on walking undaunted towards your moment of glory.
Featured photo credit: Russell Peters via i.ytimg.com