Over the past few years, I’ve become a bit of a philosophy nerd. Every morning I read from a book called The Daily Stoic, I frequently listen to podcasts and read books and blogs about “street-level” philosophy, I even carry a coin in my pocket which reminds me that one day I won’t be here and I should live life well and fully while I have the chance. Yeah. Philosophy NERD.
One side-effect of this constant attraction to philosophy is that I’ve begun to notice it’s mark everywhere I look. Coaches have philosophies, business’ have “cultures” and “mission statements” which are just shorthands for philosophy. Instagram and Facebook are frequently littered with people pumping out little inspirational quotes that — at their heart — are philosophy. It’s everywhere. Everyone has a philosophy whether they know it or not. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail are those who ACT from their philosophy. Simon Sinek, a prominent thinker on leadership, believes that successful enterprises and entrepreneurs start with “Why?” and then go to the “How?” and the “What?” In other words, he believes they begin with a personal philosophy.
So what is my philosophy? Why do I feel the need to write about acting? Follow me.
Once upon a time, I read a little passage about the character of the great man that I recognized was also true of the great actor — be they male, female, or anywhere on the vibrant spectrum between the two. It was initially titled “Wanted — A Man” and was from an early 20th Century book on success by inspirational author Orison Swett Marden (I’m sure he was mercilessly beaten in High School for having that name), but I retooled it to be useful for the theatre artist.
WANTED: AN ACTOR
Wanted, an actor who will not lose their individuality in a crowd, an actor who has the courage of their convictions, who is not afraid to say “No,” though all the world say “Yes.”
Wanted, an actor who is larger than their calling, who considers it a low estimate of their occupation to value it merely as a means of getting a living. Wanted, an actor who sees self-development, education and culture, discipline and drill, character and adulthood, in their occupation…
Wanted, an actor of courage who is not a coward in any part of their nature.
Wanted, an actor who is symmetrical, and not one-sided in their development, who has not sent all the energies of their being into one narrow specialty and allowed all the other branches of his life to wither and die. Wanted, an actor who is broad, who does not take half views of things; an actor who mixes common sense with their theories, who does not let an education spoil them for practical, every-day life; an actor who prefers substance to show, and one who regards their good name as a priceless treasure.
Wanted, an actor “who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire, but whose passions are trained to heed a strong will, the servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty, whether of nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others as themselves.”
The world wants an actor who is educated all over; whose nerves are brought to their acutest sensibility; whose brain is cultured, keen, incisive, broad; whose hands are deft; whose eyes are alert, sensitive, microscopic; whose heart is tender, magnanimous, true.
The whole world is looking for such an actor.
The whole world IS looking for such an actor, and I believe each and every one of us can become such an actor if we work hard and remember why we do this crazy thing we do. Frankly, I believe the reason we frequently don’t succeed or feel less-than when we are rejected, or frustrated is that we aren’t embodying these virtues. We’ve lost sight of the “why” in exchange for the “what” and the “how.” That’s the reason I choose to write this blog. I do not pretend to have all of the answers or even the best set of solutions, but I want to help better us in any little way I can, even if it’s merely blogging about silly little things.
I’m searching for such an actor within myself, join me while you seek for your own, the road gets lonely without company.
Warts and all, let’s start this shit up.