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Backstage Experts

Why You Need to Face Your Fears

Why You Need to Face Your Fears

What will happen if you let yourself go?

What will happen if you have more fun?

What will happen if you truly commit?

The fears in our heads are always louder and bigger than the actual experience of them in reality. In fact, once we face the things we are most scared of, we realize that they actually aren’t that scary at all. They just remain Boogeyman-esque when we keep them locked up in the dark corners of our mind.

Part of the process of acting (and any great art) is to begin unlocking those doors of the mind to let these fears out so they no longer hold us back from what we want.

Actually, the process of creating does that naturally. Because you’re eventually going to come face-to-face with your "stuff."

A lot of our fears are tied to the patterns of our past that perhaps saw us getting punished for expressing ourselves. Or we heard adults tell us that we “can’t do that,” or “that’s bad” when we were younger. So we locked up those parts of ourselves that are most intricately connected to creativity.

Now, as adults, when we’re asked to commit to something or play or let go or really allow ourselves to have fun (in life) and in our work, we often hear our silent critic tell us: “I’ll look silly.” “That’s too weird.”  ”People will judge me.” “It’s not safe.” “It’s going to be too messy.” “I can’t do it.”

And this, then, is the "creative crux" that we all must overcome. In order to have access to all the things we want to be and have in our work — freedom, joy, passion, presence, courage, simplicity, abandonment, danger — we must traverse this chasm from the mind’s judgments and fears of what those things might look like (and do to us) and instead actually live in the commitment to them as they present themselves.

It’s a bit of a mind-game because we can’t ever figure these things out at the level of the mind. They have to be experienced. And yet, what creates the experience is silencing the mind and taking the leap.

We can’t conceptualize states of being like passion, courage, simplicity, or presence. Or rather, we try to, but concepts don’t take us there. In fact they keep us stuck on the sidelines watching and judging others who are truly playing in the game of life.

So get off the bench, dive in, and go for the play. When you do, you’ll become so immersed in the actual doing, you’ll end up on the other side and realize, “Oh my goodness, that wasn’t so hard after all!”

Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) in Los Angeles, where it was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read). AMAW is also located in New York and Australia. 

Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. 'Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.

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