If you’re going to reach your full potential as an actor, it’s important nothing gets in your way.
1. Don’t make what’s in the way…the way. If you want to get to the Golden Globes or any other awards show, you don’t get there by talking about how you’re not there! That’s what’s challenging about being human. We spend an inordinate amount of energy complaining about what’s not working. Stop doing that. Instead, talk about what’s exciting in your life and the breakthroughs you’re creating and what you’re doing to get there. Keep speaking the vision of what is possible for you rather than the lack.
2. Recover gracefully. You have nothing to ever be embarrassed about or ashamed of. Just do your best and let it all go. Whether that’s auditioning or creating or asking someone out on a date and getting rejected or being dumped by your agent. Just keep moving forward.
3. Smile. New brain research is proving that even if you don’t feel like it, the act of smiling repetitively helps to change our mood and strengthens the brains neural ability to maintain a positive outlook on life. Smiling stimulates brain circuits that enhance social interaction, empathy, and mood. In other words, more people will respond favorably to you if you stop being such a curmudgeon. (And more people will want to work with you too!)
4. Be bored. NPR recently did a story on how the brain has a default set point that it needs to reach so that it’s not always being stimulated and processing information. This means be bored. That’s hard because when we’re not doing something we reach for things (phones!) to distract us. But this isn’t the kind of passive activity the brain needs. (That’s because it’s not passive; it’s active.) Having moments of doing nothing taps us into our subconscious, which is where imagination and access to creativity dwell. Go there.
5. Faith. You have to exercise it. Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, has shown in his brain studies that the No. 1 way to make real neurological changes toward living a more positive life is to have faith. It doesn’t matter what it’s in, just start exercising a practice toward something: yourself, God, nature, humanity, life itself, acting, the power of film, storytelling, love, science. Exercise it everyday and watch how your life will open.
6. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. Try one of those mantras—or any of them simultaneously—when you’re challenged in life. When things go wrong, when you don’t book that lead in that TV show, when your lover leaves you, when you want to move back to Ohio, or when you wonder, “What the hell am I doing with my life?” Any one of these phrases silently spoken to yourself covers every situation you will ever encounter in life. Try it and see how you’ll move from anxiety to acceptance.
*First published on Backstage*