We are defined by our choices – as People and as actors we are constantly bombarded with decisions and the more specific we are both on and off of set, the greater the impact will be.
One of my mentors and acting coaches, Bernie [Bernard Hiller], says that acting and real life are one and the same – this is the reason that the title of his book is “Stop Acting, Start Living”. What he means by that is that to be interesting on screen, you need to make interesting choices and to live an interesting life. Truthful acting is about finding yourself in the character you are playing and bringing your life essence on to the set.
If I tell you to think of your favourite actor, a top A-list star, and then ask you to describe what you believe their life is like – what images are conjured up in your minds-eye?
For me I think of exciting adventures, fast cars, travelling to amazing places, eating the best food and meeting interesting people.
Having experiences make us well rounded people and allow us to access our entire emotional pallet and broaden the shading we can use in our storytelling. And more to the point we can decide to have these experiences and choose to step out of and expand our comfort zones.
Success is not a matter of luck or chance; it is in fact a choice. You have the power to decide what sort of life you want. Yes we are all born with different circumstances, absolutely, but we are also born with the ability to see opportunity and to decide what we are going to do and who we are going to be. Especially in our part of the world it is in my opinion a sin to not do everything that we can with the privileges we have, So many of us decide to do nothing or the bare minimum, usually out of fear – fear of success.
It is better to do something, that you are not 100% is the right decision and then alter your course along the way, than to do nothing. Taking a chance at something infinitely increases your chances of success, where as not doing it guarantees with 100% certainty that you will never achieve, reach or have the thing(s) you want. Sometimes any decision is better than no decision at all, because doing nothing is also a choice.
Grant Cardone says in his book “The 10 X Rule” that most people set goals that are too small, easily obtainable and not in line with what we truly desire, which means that even if you do achieve it you are still disappointed because it isn’t what you actually wanted – and that is if you even set any goals in the first place.
“Easy Choices = Hard Life, Hard Choices = Easy Life”
This is one of my favourite quotes from Bernie. I remember hearing it at one of his master classes and it has stuck with me ever since. And it is true, just think about it, how many times have you said to yourself “I’m going to go to the gym today after work” and then find yourself at the end of the day, tired and hungry, it’s raining outside and you just got a notification that a film you want to see has just been added to Netflix so you instead choose to order some fast food and chill on the couch.
Easy Choice which gives you instant pleasure, but will cause serious health issues in the long run.
What if you instead made the decision to prepare a weekly meal plan at the weekend and pre-pack it in easy to take with you, reusable containers. You put your gym clothes on the chair next to your bed and set your alarm an hour earlier so you can just jump out of bed, grab your stuff and head to the gym first thing in the morning. You take a book on a topic you want to improve in and read it every time you would normally randomly scroll through your phone and have an audio book on another topic ready to go when you are in the car or working out. You set up an automatic bank transfer every month to put aside money to a separate, untouchable savings account before you even pay the rest of your bills. You sign up to weekly acting classes and pre-pay a deposit to one acting workshop each month and then force yourself to get creative and find ways to increase your earnings so as to be able to pay the rest of the cost.
All Hard Choices that will ultimately pay off big time in the long term.
How about this for thought; who are the 5 people you spend the most of your time with?
Write down their names.
Now I want you to think about where they are in their lives. What are they doing to achieve their dreams and goals? How do they choose to spend their time? How do they react when you tell them your greatest desires? What do you choose to speak about when you spend time together?
We are what we think about most of the time and become who we spend most of our time with.
(Did you choose to do the exercise above? Or did you choose to skip it?)
Our choices define us and we are always just one decision away from a completely different life. Who do you choose to be?