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  • Writer's pictureMichael Apollo Lira

The difference between diligence and insanity

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

This one has been bugging me.

People like to say that the definition of insanity lies within the act(s) of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

We hear that definition over and over again, expecting different results too, I suppose.

Now, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'd like to turn your attention to Exhibit B. Please take note of the word "Diligent". The expert witnesses at indicate that its definition involves the phrasing "constant in effort" and "persistent" - not terribly unlike the aforementioned definition of the word "Insanity"

So both involve repetition, persistence, and really a form of dedication towards the accomplishment of a task. So just what the heck is the difference between the two??

I've started to realize I do a lot of things over and over again with hopes for different results, and a lot of the time I have no real way of knowing if I'm doing it out of diligence and a belief that I really am going to accomplish something, or if I'm just a little off my rocker and nothing is going to happen or change at all.

One example of such repeated behavior is auditioning. You read a script, edit, send it off. Read a script, edit, send it off. Read a script, edit, send it off. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over...until something happens. One website that hosts voiceover talent opportunities says that the average ratio of auditions to bookings on their website is 250:1.


I don't know about you, but I'd start feeling like I might be nutty if I pumped out 200 auditions and nothing happens. I'd be leaning in the direction of insanity, your honor. That's a LOT of auditions (though rumor has it that there is one superhuman individual out there capable of dishing out over 200 on a weekly basis)!

But that's just it - that was my ratio on one of the P2P websites. And I'm nutty enough to appreciate that because over the course of those 200 auditions, I learned a LOT and had some really great experiences.

Now here's the really cool thing that just happened with that ONE SINGLE client I booked with: they just contacted me to see if I'd work with them again on a project. My ONE client just became a return client. To me, that means EVERYTHING. It says "hey - you're good enough to hire again! We kind of like you!"

I feel like I just found a four-leaf clover.

Getting a return client feels like listening to this song:

Did you know that 12% of the population is born in September? People really like the holidays!

And yes, I hear this song when I find four-leaf clovers.

...When you get a returning client, does that count as insanity since they're repeating a behavior and expecting similar results?

So I guess what I'm getting at is how important it is to be diligent in an area like voiceover. It's easy to be dissuaded or let down if you step into something expecting immediate big-time success. It's a learning process and a slow growth that takes a lot of diligence and persistence to foster. If you're feeling disheartened or like you're losing your mind doing the same thing over and over - it's never bad to take a step back and look at what you can do better or to find ways to grow and improve...but remember to get back to it when you're ready again and keep at it! At the end of the day it's not giving up that gets you there.

And maybe that's the difference between diligence and insanity - the ability to step back and look at what you're doing. The ability to improve on that repetitive process to actually achieve the results sought.

For what it's worth, that whole repetition thing was never a very good or accurate definition of insanity. You can either take heart in that or be disheartened by that. I like it - since it gives me a reason to try to remain diligent without fear of any extra sides of insanity included in my meal order.

You stay diligent out there! And if you can't do that, may your wackiness lead you towards growth, so you can keep at it!

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Josh Alexander VO
Josh Alexander VO
Jan 20, 2021

Ah! Falling Down! Classic movie and a most worthy addition to your blog in defining insanity. Love it! Keep cranking out the hits, MAL - both in blogs AND auditions. and thank you YET AGAIN for the superhuman shout out! I’m blushing! (No really...I really am. Really. Stop staring! Well OK you can stare a little. Just don’t expect a different result. Gotta go! I’m late for my 200 auditions.

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