1. You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.
Like the song says, right? Spending too much time in life worrying about how others view you, working to achieve someone else’s idea of success, or making choices based on other people’s opinions can take you so far away from being genuine. To give your best performance you have to be your best self, and only you can define that. You have to live with yourself and your beliefs. These are sacred to who you are as a human being.
2. Always be present.
The life of a working actor is unlike any other: no regular hours; finding yourself in brand new situations with new people you need to trust overnight; long days and nights; physical and emotional pressure. Sometimes you are flush, other times it can be very lean. You work with big personalities and lots of people who may be a little more insecure than you are used to.
There are many ways to escape some of the anxiety this may cause you, but using coping mechanisms that keep you from being present are detrimental to your career in the short and long term. As an actor you need to always be present in your work for your performative moments to be organic and believable. As a person, if you live a life filled with escapes, it can quickly turn into a slippery slope that keeps you from genuine relationships, financial stability, and long term professional and personal success.
3. You have a brain, you need to use it.
Understanding the past and present of our world is crucial to your life as an artist and as an actor. The more you know, the more able you are to form opinions, and the more you can contribute, the more you can collaborate, and the more you count in the larger scheme of things. You have a huge responsibility as an artist to know the world you attempt to portray. You have an even larger responsibility as a person to be an informed citizen of the world.
Being an actor is a special career and it gives the individual who does it the opportunity to become more enlightened than the average person. They learn about so many different points of view, different perspectives on life, cultures, ideals, and history. Being the most productive as an artist leads most actors to become exceptionally enriched as human beings—so long as they remain aware and in touch with the lessons of this life as they come. For those who choose it, being an actor can be such an amazing life journey.