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Secret Agent Man

How to Fight Actor Envy

How to Fight Actor Envy
Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

“Will you please kill me?”

My actor friend sounded depressed. We were having drinks up in Malibu, but the calming sounds of the Pacific were having no effect on him. I usually prefer a good reason before I take someone’s life, so I asked why he was so down.

“I’m the same age as Ryan Gosling, and I went to school with Jake Gyllenhaal. Look at them. Look at me.”

Now I understood. My friend was suffering from a bad case of actor envy. Last time I checked, nine out of 10 performers are afflicted with it.

I listened patiently as he went on and on about how he kept seeing actors he knew in movies and on television. The whole world was moving forward and he was stuck in neutral. What was the point?

I finished my drink and motioned for another round. Then I told my friend I was surprised. He asked why.

“I never knew you wanted to be an international movie star. I didn’t realize that was your goal as an actor.”

“Well, it’s really not.”

“Then why are you comparing yourself to Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal?”

The question hit home. My friend couldn’t come up with an answer. He just stared at me like I had revealed the meaning of life.

I went on to remind him that he had decent representation and that he was making a living as an actor. Granted, most of that income came from commercials, but so what? There were a ton of actors out there who would kill to be in his position.

READ: How to Overcome Jealousy

He seemed to be considering everything I said. Was his mood lifting? I couldn’t be sure, so when the waitress brought over our drinks, I threw them in his face.

My friend was stunned. Everyone in the restaurant turned to stare at us. That’s when I jumped up, grabbed him by the shoulders, and got right in his face.

“If you want to be successful, you must define what success means to you!”

Silence. No one said anything and no one moved. Even the seagulls stopped squawking.

Then, everyone in the restaurant burst into applause. A few people were even crying. (Remember, this is Malibu.) My friend smiled and gave me the biggest hug he’s ever given me.

I whispered in his ear, “Look, it’s OK to be envious. You’re just human. But you can’t allow those feelings to dominate your life and block your ability to see the path forward. Because if you do, that’s on you, not Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal.”

He nodded in agreement. Then, believe it or not, two very famous movie stars walked into the restaurant at the exact same moment. I paid the bill, grabbed my friend, and pulled him away before he could spot Ryan or Jake.

Driving home, I could feel his mood lifting. He promised to stop worrying about what other actors were doing. From now on, he was going to focus on himself.

I don’t like to throw around words like “superhero,” but I did save a man’s life that day. Most reps could not care less about actors and their problems, but I’m a different breed. That’s why they call me…Secret Agent Man!

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