Posted by: ArtisrRJ19 | April 2, 2015

Success Lesson From My Acting Teacher

Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert LandscapePhoto courtesy of

I once had an acting teacher who complimented me on my tenacity. She observed that no matter what got me down, I never gave up; that I always got back on my feet and returned to the game. She remarked that she admired the courage I displayed in doing so.

When she first shared this observation with me, it didn’t sound positive. When I screwed up a scene and she gave me critique, usually I was able to make the adjustment that she wanted, and I would usually get it right. But not always, especially in the early stages of my training.

I thought, since I had not “nailed” it at my first attempt, then surely I wasn’t that good, and that this was her way of telling me I wasn’t good enough to make it as an actor, and not to quit my day job. I hung in there but it took me a while to accept that few actors have the innate gift of a Brando, Cagney, Stewart, or Fonda. Most actors have some talent, and many are exceptionally gifted, but it requires dedicated training over time to perfect that talent. And, along the way, actors don’t always get it right.

I have learned that, regardless of the path you choose in life, success requires that you continue to pursue your goals and dreams without giving up or giving in. As I look back on my former teacher’s comment about courage in the face to defeat or disappointment, I can now see how important it is to take your lumps but never give up. If you stay in the game, you just might get there. But if you give up and thrown in your cards, it is certain that you will not succeed. Getting up off the proverbial floor, and pressing forward, can be a recipe for success.

Lately, as I have been re-assessing my life, I have been recalling dreams and aspirations I had when I was younger. In all honesty, some have come true and some have not. Obviously, I don’t feel good about the ones that haven’t, so I have been asking myself some questions about them:

“Which of your unrealized dreams were caused by you giving up on yourself, and what could you have done differently to push yourself forward toward success? Have you given up on yourself at any time in your life?”

Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. While I don’t completely agree with him (I believe that if you are still living, it is worthwhile to continue to do so), I do believe self-examination should be part of an ongoing, transformative process. So I continue to examine my life.

Most of what I learned when I was young, I did so by the seat of my pants. I loved my dad, but he never taught me anything through direct dialogue with me. He was just not a life coach type of man. So I learned on my own, and many lessons came late in life.

Yes, I did give up on certain goals when I couldn’t conceive of how to accomplish them. But I would typically re-group and seek other means to solve the problem. Usually I would get it done.

On balance, I’ve enjoyed enough success to keep me moving forward; always seeking greater success in virtually all aspects of my life. And as long as I embrace and nurture this unfolding, continuous process, I’m pretty sure that when all is said and done, my former acting teacher would be very proud of me. Her words have inspired me in all areas of my life, not just in my acting career. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Were you inspired by someone to move boldly toward success? If so, please comment below.


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