In the work I’ve done over the years with both actors and non-actors, I’ve found that the core purpose to most of our hopes and dreams is to be happy. We have different ways we try to attain that happiness, and sometimes, we mistake happiness for other things like excitement, ecstasy, and the ego’s pleasure. However, real, sustainable happiness is where we become aligned with the harmony of our universe. We stop suffering because we cease resisting life.
In the past few years I made it my job to study all this—through my own personal journey, the journeys of my clients, and the scientific research on human happiness that has been rapidly emerging. One of the things I learned is that 50 percent of our happiness is due to our genetics; 10 percent to our circumstances; and a huge 40 percent from specific factors that we can control. With a 31 year history in the entertainment industry – 20 of them working as an actor – it seemed natural to write a book for actors, sharing what those happy factors are. I am happy to say, "How to be a Happy Actor in a Challenging Business: A Guide to Thriving Through it All" has made a positive difference to the lives of many.
Here I share some brief reminders that will raise your happy actor factor!
1. Be kind to yourself. You're the only person you can control when it comes to how you're treated. Bottom line is: Your experience of life is very much a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.
2. Believe in something greater than yourself, whatever you want to call it. Research shows that we are far happier when we have some sort of spiritual practice. Sharing that spiritual practice with others increases happiness levels further still.
3. Surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive, and inspiring. Choose friends and colleagues who elevate you to be your best self. We are profoundly influenced by those we choose to be around.
4. Be in environments that nourish and ground you. It has been shown that our surroundings influence our happiness levels in a multitude of ways. Be intentional about the spaces you live and work in. Peaceful, open, organized, and uplifting surroundings are great soil for happiness to grow in.
5. Forgive all of it. Resentment is a poison that eats away at the vessel it sits in. Forgiveness frees you. It does not condone another’s actions or inactions; it simply liberates you from the pain of the past and allows you to be as creative and healthy as you want to be.
6. Serve others the way they would like to be served. Making a positive difference in the lives of others, whether it’s through your work or through other means, will raise your happy factor. It gets you out of your own way and connects you with a universal truth – that there is really only one of us here.
7. Be inspired, not tired. Find out what has deep meaning and importance for you, create a robust vision for yourself based on that, and make every day a dedication to it. You cannot be jaded when you tap into your own source of inspiration.
Happy days include disappointments, losses, and pain. It is how you choose to respond to life that will determine how life responds to you.
Justina Vail, PCC CHt, is a life coach, master NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist, speaker, award-winning author, and award-winning actor. She is owner of Actors Life Coaching and author of the award-winning new book “How to be a Happy Actor in a Challenging Business: A Guide to Thriving Through it All."
Vail coaches actors all over the world via Skype and in person. For info about private coaching packages as well as Actors Life Coaching seminars and workshops visit www.actorslifecoaching.com.