He was an amazing performer, but by all accounts when he wasn’t performing he was shy and had difficulty connecting with others.
A big question I keep seeing (or, rather, assertion I keep reading) is that people who are truly funny always balance it with a ‘dark side’, can’t connect with others authentically (that’s what the humor is for – to manufacture a feeling of relationship), and will almost always have lows as low as the highest high.
I’m not an expert on mental health, depression or suicide. An explanation of why Williams may have taken his life is being attempted by a lot of people right now, and I’ll leave it to others far more qualified than I to take on that task.
That said, I have observed often that the more time and effort we spend on truly developing and exercising our co-pilot process the heartier we are at dealing with some truly horrific things that life can throw at us.
I recently ran into the video below.
The comedian, Russell Brand, another ENFP personality (Exploration/Authenticity), has clearly spent a lot of time developing his Authenticity co-pilot process.
He’s a fantastic performer, very charismatic, and if given the right platform will often resemble Robin Williams in his energy and effusiveness.
He refers to himself as insane, but don’t let him fool you.
Instead of having difficulty connecting without the tool of performance, Brand appears far more responsive to people around him.
For example, in the situation in the video below there is no safe container for performance, so he instinctively understands it’s on him to create it.
In fact, as the people around him get more and more insecure, he gets more and more authentic and rests into himself.
There’s a connective element to his interaction, true concern in his voice toward the interviewers, which is quite disconcerting to them as they are fully in ‘performance’ mode.
It’s not easy to develop oneself when in the public eye, and it can be comforting to fall back on synthetic relationships when you’re really, really good at creating them.
For people of all types some of the hardest work is letting oneself recognize the difference between true development, and the illusion of growth based on accolades we may get for having talents others admire.
The litmus test is this: the former fills us to the brim with self-love, the latter always leaves us starving for more.
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