Today I want to talk about success.
That misleading little word that makes a lot of actors’ heads spin.
And being in one of the most competitive industries imaginable, success of course takes a lot of that dirty W word.
Work is hard. Work is effort. Work is uncomfortable.
And it must be done.
But you see, most people think the road to success (in life, and your acting career) looks like this:
Try → Fail or Succeed
When in reality, success looks like this:
Try → Fail → Fail → Fail → (etc) → Succeed
To use a famous Thomas Edison quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Another illuminating quote of his is: “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”
Uncertainty is the Only Certainty
When I returned home for the holidays a few years ago, a local newspaper reached out to me wanting to feature me in a “local boy made good”-type piece. I was flattered and of course agreed.
One of the questions they asked me, the last one I believe, was “Do you have any advice for people that want to become actors?”
I took a second and thought, “What could I possibly say to someone?”
My mind flashed a thousand miles a minute to advice that I received that helped me get to where I am.
But then it struck me.
It wasn’t advice that got me to where I am.
It was my own determination.
I decided that I had to do it. That there wasn’t an option.
And when there are no options, your path clears. The sun seems to come out and greet you with its warmth. “Okay,” it calmly says, “let’s do this thing.”
I answered the question saying, “No, I don’t have any advice. If you really want to do it deep in your bones, you’ll find a way to do it.”
And I still believe that to be true.
No one or two sentence quip will suddenly change your life. That’s not how life works.
Even if a mentor says something illuminating or paradigm-shifting for you, change still comes from inside. It comes from what excites you.
Does acting excite you? Does it excite you enough to wade through the countless failures in auditions, rehearsals, performances, and lifestyle it takes to be an actor? To work multiple jobs, live and eat on the cheap side of town so you can afford to go to auditions?
How’s your grit?
Are you ready to try, fail, fail, fail, fail (etc) to succeed?
Guest post by my brother James. A professional stage actor and owner of actor life hack
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