For many people the worst holiday hangover doesn’t occur on New Year’s Day. It’s the one that hits you in April when you realize that you haven’t done a thing about your New Year’s resolutions.
Most of the time a resolution is nothing more than a nice idea—something you feel you should do to make yourself or your life a little better. But at the end of the day, resolutions and intentions only work to the degree that you’re willing to give them your time and energy; most fail from lack of effort. You can wish for something really badly, but you won’t get it unless you focus on it, work for it, and truly dedicate yourself to it.
So forget resolutions; they’re for amateurs. Instead, take a good hard look at what you’re ready to dedicate your mind, body and heart to this coming year.
Here are four dedications every actor can make.
1. I dedicate myself to generosity. We’re all at our best when we’re about something bigger than ourselves. There is a wonderful feeling of freedom and expansiveness that comes from transcending the smallness of our own needs. Generosity is an act of abundance. By giving, you’re acknowledging that you have more than enough, and instead of losing what you’re giving away, you’re creating the space for something new and surprising to come in to your life. This is true for actors in their work as well. When you’re secure in your work to the point where you can let go and give it away, you create space for appreciation and respect, and become the open-hearted, generous actor we love.
2. I dedicate myself to be ready. Our business has a very exciting lottery element to it— no matter what’s happening today, it can all change tomorrow and you never know exactly how it will all shake out. For example, if you ask 50 working actors how they came to be successful or what form their big break came in, you’ll probably get 50 different answers.
But, the one thing that all 50 have in common is that no matter how the opportunity presented itself, they were ready to seize it when it did. Their skills were top notch and in good shape, so it was easy for them to believe in themselves and their talent, to leap into the unknown, and to take the job-getting risks. When you’re committed to your training and are sharp and disciplined at all times, you’ll be ready and able to turn your opportunities into a long and rewarding career.
3. I dedicate myself to living as an artist. You’re not an actor only when you’re acting, just as a painter isn’t a painter only when they are painting. You are an actor 24/7 and it’s your job to live with a higher awareness of your experience, your thoughts, and your feelings. Your life is your laboratory and every thing that happens to you in the course of a day, a week, a month, a life, is yours to take in, process, and give back to the world through the characters you create. But you can’t create real, fascinating, three-dimensional characters if you’re looking at life in an ordinary two-dimensional way. Wake up the artist inside of you and tell them to start living.
4. I dedicate myself to gratitude. You get to have this journey. You get to explore your heart and mind, and learn about where all kinds of different people live inside of you. You get to experiment and play and you get to do all of this in the service of your career. As an artist you get to live in and explore the unknown; you get to choose adventure over security. You don’t know where it’s all going to lead, but you get to walk this path the way you choose, and that’s pretty spectacular. So, say thank you when you wake up, when you go to bed and 100 times in between. And finally, say thank you to yourself, for honoring your one precious life.
Now have some fun making your own list, but choose only those things that you’re truly ready to give 100 percent of your mind, body, heart and soul to—only then will your dedications transform your life for the better.
Taking my own advice, I narrowed my dedications list for 2014 from six down to one:
I dedicate myself to living this year all out—with a clear, focused mind and a wild, undefended heart.
May we all have the year of our lives.
Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of The Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent and casting consultant. In his 14 years of teaching, he has seen the careers of hundreds of his students take off. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Best of You – Winning Auditions Your Way.”
Craig is currently teaching his audition technique classes and his Meditation for Actors classes in Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit www.wallaceauditiontechnique.com.