If there’s one thing I’m seeing cripple actors’ success right now, it’s their fear of what other people within the acting industry might think of them. I use the word ‘might’ very specifically here, as most people’s fears are entirely fictional and never come to fruition.
In positive psychology, we term this phenomenon ‘Fortune Telling.’
Fortune telling is where a person presumes he or she can predict the future and outcome of a given situation. Most actors choose to opt for negative fortune telling and thus predict the worst possible outcome for their actions, life, and career. The amount of emails I receive asking me to proofread an email or a tweet, before it is sent to an agent or casting director, is ridiculous. In 99% of cases, what has been written is absolutely fine, yet the actor has decided to predict a disastrous outcome, where the recipient of that email or tweet hates what is written, blocks the sender, and thus never sees them for a casting or meeting.
The irony here is that by NOT sending that email or tweet, the chances of a casting or meeting are practically zero anyway, so the actor actually has nothing whatsoever to lose. And yet, that internally manufactured fear stops them from hitting the ‘send’ button on so many occasions.
Now, unfortunately negative fortune telling isn’t just limited to emails and tweets, and it’s certainly not just limited to situations involving agents and casting directors. Perhaps the saddest thing I’m seeing in the industry right now is actors holding back from putting themselves out there, due to the fear of what complete strangers on the Internet might think of them.
Thousands of actors are allowing the fear of negative, anonymous comments from people they don’t even know to stop them from truly fulfilling their potential—if that’s you right now, you have already lost. So many short films, theatre shows, TV pilots, musicals, comedy sketches, songs, books, etc. are not seeing the light of day, because of a negative fortune telling epidemic! Actors are getting in their own way and it’s time this stopped.
Let’s look at three simple ways to start combatting this:
1. Accept Yourself For Who You Are
Trust me, the fastest way to fail is to constantly focus on what you are not. Quit wishing you were taller, better looking, smarter, richer, or any other nonsense we can so easily obsess about. Instead focus on your strengths. What do you have to offer this world that no one else does? If you’re a natural comic, put your unique flavour of comedy out in some sketches on YouTube. If you’ve got a flair for improvisation, pull out your phone, launch the Facebook app, and GO LIVE—I dare you!
Will you please everyone? No, of course not, but by putting yourself out there, you are bound to please someone! You don’t know who that might be, or where it might lead. By hiding away, you’ll please no one and rob yourself of unlimited opportunities.
You want to be a winner? Start focusing on winning.
2. Start To Deploy POSITIVE Fortune Telling
Fortune telling can work in your favour. Positive fortune telling, or ‘visualisation,’ has been proven time and time again to contribute greatly towards goal-achievement. Rather than predicting negative outcomes, visualise yourself succeeding. The more you can get used to expecting positive outcomes, the more positive outcomes you are going to have. Record-breaking athletes have harnessed the power of visualisation to push the human body beyond its perceived limits. You’ve got no excuse not to use it to put a new showreel scene out on Instagram!
If an outcome doesn’t go according to plan, try to learn from it instead of getting embarrassed. Write down what you would do differently next time, to help solidify what you have learned. Remember, as long as you are learning, you are succeeding! No one gets everything right 100% of the time, especially not on their first attempt. Just fall in love with the process!
3. Avoid Second-Guessing Every Step You Take
This is critical. Try not to assume that everyone is judging every little thing you do. In reality, they really aren’t. The truth is that most people are so caught up in their own worlds, that they don’t have time to continuously focus on you. Before getting lost in a cycle of self-doubt, remind yourself that anyone worth your time has more to worry about than criticising your every thought and action.
Do your best to notice when you start to overthink or second guess yourself. If you can become aware of when you are second-guessing yourself, you can stop that cycle in its tracks.
. . . ultimately, it comes down to this: when you’re 92 years old, what are you going to regret more? That you gave it your all, threw your hat into the ring, went for it, and didn’t please everyone? Or that you stood back, kept your creativity hidden from the world, did nothing with your talent, and by default pleased no one, because nobody even knew you existed?
I know which I’d regret more, so take this message, get out into the world, show them who you really are, because right now, the only person stopping you from having success is yourself.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above, so do tweet me and let me know if you’ve fallen into the trap of negative fortune telling yourself.
If you are looking for inspiration, motivation, and more high-performance coaching, check out www.actonthis.tv – it’s crammed full of invaluable advice from the greatest minds in the acting industry, and you can also join the Facebook group here!
Share This Video With An Actor Who Needs To Hear This!
— Act On This (@ActOnThisTV) April 24, 2017