It’s been almost two years since I received my cap and gown and made the move to New York City to pursue my "dream” of being a professional actor. I don’t know everything—in fact, I don’t know much; all I can do is share with you what I DO know, now. These are practical and realistic lessons that my personal experience has taught me.
1. Insanity Is Everywhere
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. There are a lot of people pursuing a career in the arts doing the same thing everyone else is—even though everyone else isn’t having much success. Of course there are outliers—a handful of people that have broken through—but if everyone is doing the same thing and expecting or hoping to be one of those outliers and the (vast) majority of them are not, why would I do the same thing as all of those people?
2. Time's a-Wastin'
If I don’t like the way something is or the way something happened, I have two options. I can either spend my time complaining and whining about the thing, expending energy on what-ifs and whys, or I can move on and march forward. The right answer is obvious, but let’s break it down a bit. There are 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day, which means there are 1,440 minutes in each day. Each one of those minutes that I’m not doing something productive, aside from sleeping, is a minute wasted. It does me no good to stress about the minutes I have wasted—that’s a waste of minutes, too. The only option is to push forward and focus on what’s happening RIGHT NOW.
3. Relationships Matter
The only way to be a part of a community is to be a part of it. The only way to create a place for yourself in a community is by forming authentic relationships. I don’t love the term networking—it tastes bad to me. I’m in an industry that’s full of real human beings, which means my network is my community. The people I meet are the people I work with. Think about it this way: when I show someone that I care about them, they’re more inclined to care about me. It has to be deeper than surface level, which in turn creates more meaningful and authentic relationships. People want to be cared about, so start caring.
I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t just talk—I’m actually in the weeds executing and hustling. Every single day is an opportunity to create something of value, large or small. The greatest artists in history were outside-the-box-thinkers, pushing the boundaries of expectation and innovating dusty ideas, accepting their reality, fully self-aware, and adapting as a means to reach their goals.
Be brave and work hard. The joy is in the doing.