While it is extremely important to know what you can control, it is possibly more important to understand what you can’t. Once you know who pulls which string, you can focus your energy on manifesting your destiny. You have more power than you think, but don’t allow fear, ego, and emotions to fritter that power away on things beyond your reach. Here are three uncontrollable factors of an actor’s life.
1. You can’t control how people respond to you. While you have control over how you respond, and you influence how people respond to you, you don’t control them. People might be having a really bad effing day, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. They might even blame you for their day, even though you just got there. Be conscious enough to realize that this is not about you, so don’t turn one problem into another. Try to listen to the information and not the tone in which it is delivered. Some people are brusque, but they are often brusque because they find everyone else very slow or annoying. Listen to what they are saying, not how they are saying it.
2. You can’t control whether you’re right for the part. Despite his acting prowess, Paul Giamatti ain’t ever going to be playing Superman. Have dreams, but also understand how you are perceived by others, and accept it or change what you can. At this moment, you are who you are. Rather than changing or stewing over who you are, learn to accept that who you are is what will lead you to your career. There is only one you. Embrace your individuality, bring that to the stories you portray, and you will find a home for your work.
3. The Price of Tea in China…(and other irrelevancies). As you may have noticed on the news, there is a lot of stuff going on planet-wide at any given time. Any one of these things can affect your life in a completely imperceptible way. When you don’t get your way, understand that it might not be the casting director, or the producer, or your acting, or anything else you might guess led to you not getting the part. The stars literally have to align over your head for you to book a role, and there is a virtual inadvertent planet-wide conspiracy working against you, over which you have no control. When things don’t go your way, there is only one relevant question: “Could I have done better?” Incorporate, and move on.
Control is freedom. Knowing what you can’t control frees you up to work on what you can, and that is where results are born.
In case you missed Part 1, read "6 Things Actors Have Control Over."
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David Patrick Green is a professional actor and the founder of Hackhollywood.com, a membership-based website dedicated to empowering and educating actors around the globe on how to become a professional actor. His simple five-step approach inspires actors to be ruthlessly creative in their approach to the art and business of acting and life in general. He has an MBA from the University of Southern California and was an international management consultant before realizing Platinum frequent-flyer status had few rewards other than boredom, bedbugs, and beer. David is also author of the “Become a Famous Actor” series of books available at Amazon.com. He has lived and worked as an actor in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto and coaches/consults to actors and businesses who want to get on the short path to success while maintaining a sense of humor. He is happy to be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.