Hero of mankind Bill Murray recently took in a special screening of Ghostbusters on, fittingly “Bill Murray Day” at the Toronto International Film Festival and stuck around to answer fan questions. While most of the inquires were about his film career, Murray was questioned by moderator (and Scrooged screenwriter) Mitch Glazer about his frequent “stunts” in which he randomly shows up at karaoke sessions, kickball games, and bachelor parties to fraternize with his fans in increasingly unique and exciting ways.
He said that he owes it (and his entire career) to being open and relaxed. He said:
"You can do the very best you can when you're very, very relaxed, no matter what it is or what your job is, the more relaxed you are the better you are."
"That's sort of why I got into acting. I realized the more fun I had, the better I did it. And I thought, that's a job I could be proud of. It's changed my life learning that. And it's made me better at what I do."
Additionally at the q&a, when a fan asked Murray, “What’s it like to be you?” the man unleashed a wonderful, philosophical analysis of what it does, in fact, feel like to be him, or anybody, really. I’m not sure the questioner was expecting to get the kind of response that she did, but I’m very glad she asked the question, because Murray response is prefect and again hammers home the central thesis of “relax”:
“…we get confused sometimes — or I do, I think everyone does — you try to compete. You think, Dammit, someone else is trying to be me. Someone else is trying to be me. But I don’t have to armor myself against those people; I don’t have to armor myself against that idea if I can really just relax and feel content in this way and this regard. If I can just feel, just think now: How much do you weigh? This is a thing I like to do with myself when I get lost and I get feeling funny. How much do you weigh? Think about how much each person here weighs and try to feel that weight in your seat right now, in your bottom right now. Parts in your feet and parts in your bum. Just try to feel your own weight, in your own seat, in your own feet. Okay? So if you can feel that weight in your body, if you can come back into the most personal identification, a very personal identification, which is: I am. This is me now. Here I am, right now. This is me now. Then you don’t feel like you have to leave, and be over there, or look over there. You don’t feel like you have to rush off and be somewhere. There’s just a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate up and down, from your top to your bottom. Up and down from your top to your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile, that makes you want to feel good, that makes you want to feel like you could embrace yourself.
So what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.”
What do you think about this philosophy? Do you find that you can create better, more effective work when you’re relaxed? Or do you need to be a collection of jagged angles while riding a wave of ultra-alterness? I would love to live a life that’s more attuned to this concept of Murray-ness, but I honestly don’t know if I ever could. I just don’t think I’ve got the “chill” in me.