Throw Away Your Scripts!
Are you living your life based on someone else’s script, or are you living your life with NO script? It’s hard to follow your passion when you pay more attention to what you should be doing rather than what you want to be doing. If the opinions of others are more important than your own, you will end up living someone else’s life. Choosing a career as an actor elicits lots of opinions from family and friends. They might think they’re doing you a huge favor by discouraging you from going into a profession that has a 1% success rate. Actors must find a way to courageously walk their own path. When people challenge your decisions, remember you are not obligated to do what everyone else is doing.
You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if some people disagree.
It’s up to you to quiet the critical voices long enough to hear your own. You have the power to live your life the way you want to live it. When you follow your heart, you can throw away all the scripts and trust that your passion will steer you towards your happiness. Passion is like fire. It needs air to burn. Criticism and self-doubt will stifle it.
Be brave enough to fall on your face and strong enough to pick yourself up. If you play it safe for the sake of self-protection, you will be missing out on a rich, rewarding life. Living a life where your main focus is self-protection will cause you to drift slowly away from your dreams and your purpose in life. When you lack the confidence to decide what is right for you, you chip away at your self-belief. Pretty soon you start comparing yourself to others and fretting that you’re not talented or good enough. Before you know it, you’ve laid the groundwork for self-doubt to sneak in and chip away at your spirit. These self-beliefs may be unconscious because you’ve had them for a very, very long time. They can fool you into thinking that you’re a fraud and don’t deserve success. Pretty soon it could feel as if the world doesn’t want you to succeed, when it’s actually coming from inside you.
Launch into an authentic life by remembering that:
- No amount of success can erase negative self-talk.
- Groundbreaking research shows that how people conduct their inner talk has an enormous effect on their success in life. Work hard to become aware of and manage your negative self-talk, so that the life you have been dreaming of can begin to unfold. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions. When something doesn’t go well, step back and see what you could have done differently. Let go of negative self-criticism. Beating yourself up for a mistake is more damaging than the mistake itself. Don’t be afraid to fail or make huge, messy mistakes! Successful actors fail often and are not ashamed to tell you about it. They know they are more than their failures. Turn every obstacle thrown on your path into a golden opportunity of learning and growth. Success requires lots of failures, get ready to have them and let them go. Let failure refine, not define you.
- Find incredibly courageous people who will inspire rather than retire your spirit. Debbie Millman, author of Design Matters says, “When we meet someone more courageous than we are, a person who didn’t determine what was impossible before it was possible, something in us is reawakened.” She recommends heeding the words of Robert Frost, “ Start with a big fat lump in your throat. Start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness, a crazy lovesickness, and run with it. If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve. Do what you love. And don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can. Imagine immensities. Don’t compromise and don’t waste time. In order to strive for a remarkable life, you have to decide that you want one. Start now. Not twenty years from now. Not thirty years from now. Not two weeks from now. Now.” This is how every child should start their first day of school, with those awe-inspiring words. But, you can start wherever you are, right now. No more excuses. Make a decision to take all the bad thrown at you and use it to fuel you forward. As the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Take garbage and turn it into flowers.” Coddle your dreams with love and support so they can blossom into a reality. Choose to take responsibility for what you have control of and let go of all the rest. Don’t waste your precious energy.
Know the difference between over-planning and setting goals. It’s healthy to set goals to help you move in the right direction. Goal setting is fueled by love and passion. Over-planning is fear based and doesn’t leave any room for the unexpected to happen. Fear will cut you off from your creativity. Curiosity will open you up. Get curious about what scares the hell out of you. Invite it in for a cup of tea and get to know it really well so that it no longer bullies you around. Face your fears and they will dissolve faster. If you’re afraid of making a fool out of yourself and turn into a control monster, here’s a remedy: TAKE AN IMROV CLASS. As actors, you are so lucky to have this wonderful tool to exercise your letting go muscle. Trust yourself, you are more capable than you think. Over-preparing will stifle your creativity and make you boring and rote. Take a risks and make courageous choices that will feed your passion. Dream big! – Dr. King gave a speech beginning with, “I have a dream” not “I have a plan.” Dreams can shape the course of history, plans……meh.
If acting is your calling, then let it speak to you in ways that will ignite your passion and creativity. Trust that you have gifts to give as you weather the relentless storms of self-doubt.
For more inspiration, read Bradley Whitford’s commencement speech entitled: “Everything I Need To Know In Life I Learned From a Humiliation Audition”
Bonnie Katz, MFT is a licensed therapist in private practice. Her goal as a therapist is to help clients reach “optimal mental wellness”, so that they can feel happiness, fulfillment and joy in their everyday lives. For more information on Bonnie’s therapy practice, and to get a dose of inspiration, visit her website. Like The Conscious Actor on Facebook
I’ve created The Conscious Actor Inspiration Journal; to help actors develop awareness of what inspires them. Beautiful pages filled with inspirational quotes to help keep you strong minded. For New York actors, the journal is available at Drama Book Shop Los Angeles actors may pick up the journal at Samuel French Bookshop
Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.