The Key to Acting Success? Progress, Not Perfection

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Photo Source: Photo by Lindsay Henwood on Unsplash

So many artists get caught in the trap that they or their work must be perfect before they’re willing to put it or themselves out there. But perfection is an elusive lover. She is demanding and never satisfied. No matter how hard you try to please her, she is always a no-show.

But in order to truly move forward, we must let go our idea of perfection and trade it for progress. We’re not here to push ourselves into an impossible, unreachable standard that keeps us perpetually failing and striving. We are here to know ourselves as pure creative energy. To know our talents and gifts. We can’t focus on our good if we’re in a continual conversation of not-good-enough with ourselves.

We think that somewhere in the distance of our handwork is perfect happiness, perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect abundance, and the perfect career. But once we understand that those ideas are a mirage intended to keep us out of the present moment and all the good that already is, we can start owning our lives and our power in the most perfectly imperfect way.  

It isn’t perfection we seek; it’s more. We want to wake up each day and feel more happy, more joy, more peace, more abundant, more talent, more love, more, more more. There is nowhere to arrive because we’re here to grow. Perfection doesn’t grow anything. Finding the beautiful balancing point of contentment with where you are and what you have while seeking and putting your actions and intentions forth in the pursuit of more is where the gold is.

READ: The Secret to Finally Silencing Your Inner Critic

When we release our grip on perfection, we free ourselves into optimism and gratitude. When we know things won’t be perfect and we stop expecting them to be, we find the freedom to love what is. We don’t feel permission to love what is only because our ego has set us up to look at it through the lens of not perfect. When perfect is no longer the goal, living a beautiful life can be.

Psychology says that a healthy relationship has a 5:1 ratio of positive events and interactions to negative or difficult ones. No relationship is meant to be perfect or harmonious every waking second. This frees up your time and spirit to enjoy your life, art, and creativity. When you demand of yourself that every audition be a 10 out of 10, your ability to enjoy and freely express in those rooms is limited.

Set your gaze on improving what you did the audition before. Work on one element for that specific day. “Today I am going to focus more on listening in the room than I did last time.” “Today I am going to be more present.” “Today I am going to have more fun.” Wanting more instead of perfect allows more of you to show up.  

The opportunity to live our artistic life from an unparalleled state of contentment and exploration is available. Can we bravely release ourselves from the grips of the impossible, unrelenting, demanding standards of perfectionism and begin to enliven our time and our art in progress? The rehearsal is where all the best discovery is made. It’s where the play and freedom is. It’s where you’re called to live. And it’s easy because you don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it. Get it?

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he views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Natalie Roy
Natalie Roy is an actress, author, and spiritual teacher. She’s also a 500-hour certified yoga and meditation teacher specializing in visualization technique, positive psychology for actors, the yoga sutras and taking ancient Eastern philosophy and practices and playing them into the audition room and onto set.
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