In his 20’s the popular TV show host Tom Bergeron learned an important lesson: once you’ve punched your fist through a sheetrock wall, putting a poster over the hole does not get you your security deposit back.
Today Bergeron is an epitome of calm and cool. Speaking with Dan Harris on 10% happier podcast, however Bergeron admitted that back in the days he had a major anger management issue.
Nowadays all sheetrock is safe with Bergeron thanks to his then girlfriend, now wife Lois. Witnessing another one of his outbursts of temper – this time directed at a defenseless car door – she wisely said, “If we’re going to have a relationship, that has to stop.”
The next day Bergeron signed up to learn Transcendental Meditation and his rage has been under control ever since.
Rolling with whatever happens, on and off the screen
Not only has the TM practice assured Bergeron domestic bliss (he and Lois have been happily married since 1982), meditation has also helped him become the king of “off the cuff” on television.
For decades Bergeron has been a familiar friendly face on American TV. He’s been the host of such popular TV shows as America’s Funniest Home Videos and Hollywood Squares. For the past 25 years Bergeron has had the perfect response to whatever unexpected happens right there and then on ABC’s hit Dancing with the Stars.
For Bergeron hosting a 2-hour live show viewed by millions around the globe does not feel stressful at all. He has said that thanks to meditation it is actually the most relaxing time of his day.
“I trust that because of the practice, because of the investment of time and mental energy into being present, that I’m going … to somehow know how to roll with whatever happens,”
Many admire Bergeron’s sharp, effortless and ever eloquent performance. The beloved TV-show host is convinced that the key to success is staying connected, present and keeping the ego in check. Therefore, day in and day out he strengthens these attributes through meditation.
“Between dress rehearsal that we do and the live show that we do, I’ll meditate in my dressing room from anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes; just to hone that muscle of being in the moment,” he describes his routine when working on Dancing with the Stars.
“There was a time years ago, I was doing Improv theatre. I think it was a club setting. I would ask one audience member to give me a character idea and another audience member to give me a situation and I would improvise something. So, I did that. I improvised it and if I must say so myself, it was brilliant. It was just as if it had been written, honed, and performed countless times. It just happened. The audience was like big response. For my agent at the time, it was jaw dropping.”
The moment, however, that Bergeron had the idea “I am pretty good!” it all went downhill.
“The moment I made it about me, instead of the feeling that somehow tapping into that universal pool that I really feel it comes from, the very next improv was horrible. It was horrible because it was my ego. My ego got into it. I was puffing my chest up you know, instead of appreciating that somehow, we had done all this together. I made it all about me after I was basking in the applause and the very next improv was terrible. It was like I was a different guy on the stage.”
Being present in one’s life
When Bergeron was asked to describe his TM practice on Huffpost Live he expanded further on how meditation helps him to be in the “now”.
“It’s just a way of focusing your energies. That you are not constantly at the beck and call of any regrets you might have about what happened in the past or unnecessary fears and anxiety you might have about what might be going on in the future that takes you out of the moment.
A lot of people sadly look back at their lives and say they wish they had been paying more attention – and this helps you stay present.”
He added: “Being open to all possibilities, like in a good improv where you say yes to everything on stage, that’s what meditation helps you do.”
For Bergeron the art of staying sane in Hollywood is no different than staying sane anywhere:
“Be. Here. Now. Don’t forget to breathe. When all else fails, grab a clown nose.”