Why You Have to Weed Out the Negative Energy in Your Life

Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

When you choose to be an actor, you’re choosing to play a game with the odds stacked against you. It’s a difficult profession that doesn’t always reward the talented, and the hurdles between you and success can be endless.

So how do you increase your chances? Well, the basics are obvious: study with the best teachers; learn the business; network with the right people. But there’s one more approach that could make all the difference in your career.

In the words of Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition. Small people always do that. But the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Boy, did he get that right. It’s as if Twain, back in the 19th century, was writing about the entertainment industry! I guess the world has always been full of naysayers. The trick is to not let them get inside your head.

My friend’s daughter is an actor. She’s in her 20s, and she signed with her first agent about six months ago. Recently, the young lady booked her first professional role: a co-star on a network drama. You would think she’d won the lottery. The girl’s eyes were brighter than a New England lighthouse as she told me about all the fun she had on set and how the whole experience had made her feel validated.

READ: Why Your Agent is Your Friend, Therapist, Authority Figure + More

A week later, I ran into her again at her dad’s place, and she was in a totally different space. The spark was gone. When I asked what was up with the low energy, she explained her best friend from class had made her realize the booking didn’t really mean much in the big picture.

(Best friend? I think not.)

This doomsayer had told her the small role didn’t matter because it wouldn’t give her enough material for a reel and nobody would even notice her on the show. I was stunned. Moving fast, I slipped into agent mode and explained how everyone has to start somewhere, and that every part—no matter how small—is a step forward.

You don’t need Negative Nellies in your life. Being an actor is tough enough. It’s imperative that you surround yourself with positive people who support you and that you never settle for less.

Sylvester Stallone is a guy who, back in the 1970s, with just over $100 in his bank account, turned down a $300,000 offer (the equivalent of more than $1 million today) for the rights to a script he wrote called “Rocky.” Why? Because he was determined to play the lead, and they didn’t want him. I’m sure a lot of people told the Italian Stallion he was crazy. News flash: He wasn’t.

Here’s the man in his own words: “People will always say nasty, negative, stress-inducing things. Fine. But who’s telling you this? Consider the source. Does that person have credibility? Do they have an agenda? Are they projecting something based on their own deep-seated shortcomings or anxiety? Could there be another side to the story?”

He caps this quote off with one of my all-time favorite pieces of career advice: “Don’t be a fool by listening to a fool.”

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