Not a success? Sez who?

I have entered a field where the odds are stacked incredibly high against achieving success.  Especially at this stage in my life.  Just ask any number of so called friends, former boyfriends and “‘supportive” colleagues that give great face when I talk about my ambitions but snicker behind my back at the first opportunity.  But they determine success in my field, acting, as achieving that $15 million per picture paycheck.  That’s like telling every computer or IT major that unless they achieve Bill Gates’ status they are a failure at their chosen profession.  Or every finance major they must achieve Warren Buffet’s wealth in order to be successful.  Sure it would be great, but why must we insist that actors are failure’s unless they are an Oscar nominee, in the tabloid’s on a weekly basis or pulling down 7 figures for each project?  Acting is a craft and a skill to be mastered like a plumber masters the art of pipefitting.  That’s why it’s in a trade union.  Plenty of people earn an honorable living each and every day working at their craft that they happen to love.  They aren’t stinkin rich but they are able to meet their obligations, provide for their families and enjoy a nice standard of living.  Perhaps it’s because we do it out of love that people put such ridiculous expectations on an actor to succeed.

It’s important to define for yourself what success means to you.  It’s great to dream dreams that may seem out of our reach because you never know.  But in the end, only you can decide if you are successful at what you are trying to accomplish.  No one else can do it for you.

Olympic Dreams

I live in a city that was almost the host of the 2016 Olympics.  We were THAT close to having the world come to our doorstep to see how amazing our town was.  Unfortunately we were not selected today.  I have mixed emotions about the non-selection, immense pride at being one of the final 4 cities, embarrassment at having been knocked out first (really?  we are despised that much?!) and relief because I’ve lived in this “city that works you over” for a long time and I know how ripe the situation was for graft and corruption.  But through it all, I have one overriding thought, at least we tried and we gave it our all.  If we never would have even made a sincere attempt, we never would have made it to Copenhagen because they don’t let dilettantes and pretenders that far into the process.  It was a good effort, one that we can look back on with satisfaction that no stone was left unturned, no question left unanswered, it just wasn’t our time.  Too many slights and old wounds still healing in the world.  There will come another attempt, perhaps by Chicago, perhaps by another US city, that will be more successful.  But we can not feel any shame or remorse for having tried and failed.  The motto of the Special Olympics points to the honor of trying “Let me win but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt”.  And if we had never attempted, we fail before we start.

Giving everything you have to an endeavor is the highest achievement any person can accomplish.  Trying in the face of overwhelming odds is the apex of courage.  Something to keep in mind even when failure seems to be the only consistent and summoning the strength to try again and again seems unattainable.  I’m not one to litter these posts with multiple quotes but I have to include this one from Teddy Roosevelt which is one of my favorites and always brings a lump to my throat “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”

We’ll get ’em next time.