We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast to bring y'all something a little different. Today, instead of addressing our beloved tribe of ninja Dojo actors, this one's for those debating whether the actor's path is even worth setting out on. Which, by the way, is an absolutely valid debate to have.
For our amigos already en route and momentarily dancing with doubt, this read has yo' back. For our homedogs currently soaring like badass albatrosses (smooth mix of animal references, we know), keep doin' what you're doin'.
But for our new friends, here are our thoughts on whether to be, or not to be, an actor.
The times have changed: the days of having one job for life have well and truly passed.
Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows we'll hold an average of 12.4 jobs from ages 18 to 54. And increasingly, from a range of fields too.
If we take a moment to sit with this — the normalcy of traversing several professions — the idea of test driving a new road instantaneously becomes far less intimidating. Moving into the actor's lane for some time just becomes one of 12.4 lane changes we're likely to make. If we don't like the view, we simply change lanes again. We'll probably be flicking the indicator another 11.4 times anyway.
So why not?
This is usually where the brakes are pumped. The radio seems to scream, "The competition! The struggle! The rejection!"
We get it.
But homies, every industry has competition. Every career has its struggles. Every path has encounters with rejection. The particulars as related to artists tend to get a lot of airtime, but it's incorrect to think this is an artist-only experience. Law is competitive. Teaching can be a struggle. Human existence invites rejection. Whatever path(s) we choose to embark on, we'll need to find ways to make peace with the less sparkly aspects.
So — to return to the question — why not?
We're going right back to high school chemistry with this one. We're going proper scientific method to ensure we do ourselves and our potential new adventure justice.
- Define the goal. Those new to the Dojo will be blissfully unaware of how much we harp on about goal setting. But goal setting — especially in the context of an experiment — is kinda the whole jam. However, in this specific instance, kicking the defined goal is a cherry on top. Ultimately, we just want a destination to head towards so we can get a feel for the road.
- Set the timeline. All good experiments have a start and end date. For our purposes, we want to be very clear about the concentrated window of time we'll be giving our all to this pursuit. Doing so sharpens our focus and holds us accountable.
- Schedule the actions required. Working backwards from our goal, we now want to list the actions we expect to be required. At the end of the day, we're all just making educated guesses up in here, but we can ask a friend or teacher (or this groovy lil' place called The Actor's Dojo) for advice if we'd prefer. That said, don’t discount the value of a beginner's mind.
- Begin. A perk of being an actor is that we — and only we — can bestow our "actor-ness" on ourselves. So, when our start date rolls around, we need to consciously step into our new identity as an actor. And, #realtalk, if we're approaching the actor's path with this kind of clarity and commitment, we'll actually be waaay more of an "actor" than many who already claim the title.
- Evaluate. Finally, when our experiment comes to a close, we evaluate the results. This will entail reflecting on whether we enjoyed actually driving in the actor's lane, or whether we just enjoyed the idea of it. There's no right or wrong here, just what's right for us at this moment in time.
Regardless of what our experiment reveals, take a second to celebrate taking this dream for a spin. Most people never will — doing so demands a rare courage and discipline. Even if the actor's path no longer appeals, you're knighted an honorary Dojo actor for displaying such extraordinary legendary-ness.
Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.