As much as I wanted to be, at an early age I came to realize that I “was not the sharpest tool in the shed.” And nothing helped me understand that more than when I would “get it’, but not really get it. Let me explain what I mean by getting it, but not getting it.
There’s an old saying that goes “you can get it in your head but miss it in your heart.” Now that translates as you can mentally understand something without the epiphany or enlightenment that makes what you understand more than information. This process of grasping externally while not grasping internally is called mental assent and as one writer put it (if I am recalling this correctly):
“…mental assent is believing something in your head, you agree with it, you approve of it as being proper and right. It carries your unwavering endorsement or your seal of approval. You know it’s great, You believe offering it to others is beneficial to all parties involved, but in the end you never really internalize it or practice it yourself. You preach it but don’t quite realize you are not an actual practitioner yourself.”
What makes this topic so important to the success of your art, entertainment or career in general, is that we have to be sensitive to the difference between comprehending something and believing in something. Faith and understanding (while related) are not the same thing. Having understanding without conviction can put you on a different path than the one you signed up for without realizing you are no longer on the path started on.
Of course the million dollar question (for inquiring minds) is, “how do I know when I am not really getting it ?”. Well as with all things that have a starting point, you have to go back to the root of what you think you are getting, and see if where you are right now is where you should be based solely on the precepts that you were introduced to initially. It’s usually in the birth of an idea that it’s less convoluted and over time gets reinterpreted into something different. Being able to do more than mentally processing just the letter of what we promote (while missing the spirit of it) lies in our conviction about the original agenda of what we endorse. Grasping the spirit of what we profess and not just the words, moves us from knowing just what something is to also understanding why that thing is.