This one goes out to the little kid in all of us.
When you’re a little kid, you’re in it for the fun of it. You’re playing the game of life hard without even realizing what you’re doing. You don’t have a care in the world. Everything is interesting and exciting, and you don’t give up until you get the full experience.
At some point, though, we all get distracted. Making perfect grades, being the best at whatever we’re up to, surviving the social structure in high school, or sometimes just counting the minutes until we can get out of our parents’ house for good. Whatever it was got in the way of our ability to freely and blissfully love life and to be present for every single moment. All of the sudden, we find ourselves looking constantly toward the future: What will the next stage look like? Will I get into college? Will I have the career I want? Will I ever find someone who wants to spend the rest of their life with me?
And on, and on, and on.
People in creative fields have a double whammy. Many of you grew up watching the Oscars and Emmys while planning your acceptance speeches. As you got older, though, you became increasingly aware of the distance between where you were and where you wanted to be. You heard stories of overnight successes and couldn’t help but experience a twinge of jealousy.
Everyone’s experience is different. But nobody escapes wishing they were already at the peak of their success, at least every once and a while. And in those moments, you can feel defeated. You might accept your given circumstances as all that’s possible.d persuieir successes or sabotage every opportunity that they come across.
If I could say one thing to the aspiring actors, writers, directors, producers and other creatives of tomorrow, it would be this:
Get as far as you can before your naive, fearless, youthful spirit yields to the stoic, “realistic,” fear and judgment-focused mentaility that too many adults covet as a mark of maturity. You can recapture the momentum of a naive drive to achieve and attain once you’ve sent it on its way, but there’s nothing like that first free pass to the land of endless possibilities.
But if you’re reading this, “reality” has probably set in already. Someone has taught you to mistake pessimism and playing it safe with being “realistic,” and you play that game at least part of the time.
My advice to you is to interrupt any conversaton that sounds like settling. My favorite is from actors who say, “I just want to make enough to survive.” What the hell is that? Working actors – even those whose name you don’t know or faces you don’t recognize – make enough to put their kids through college and retire comfortably.
Do you intend to be a working actor? If so, you’re going to have to be cool with getting paid well.
Take a step back from the limiting conversations that “real adults” have and embrace the little kid in you that wasn’t afraid of anything and wanted to do everything. Live in the moment and absolutely love the ride. Commit to the results you want, but then let go of what the results might look like. Just go for it.
You can create a life where every moment is joyous and every dream you have is actively becoming your reality.
And it starts with embracing that naive child in you.