I had a class recently with 11 people. 2 are new; they just started a few weeks before.
The other 9 are my regulars, and all 9 of them were working that week. Paid work. It’s not that often that 100% of a class would be working at the same time.
When I heard the news I was quite excited and asked everyone, “You must be thrilled, aren’t you?” Surprisingly, I got a mixed reaction. Some were happy they were working, some were worried they wouldn’t have work the following week, and the rest were nervous about the job they were heading for.
That led us to a discussion about happiness and what it means. From the dictionary we found two; 1) Feeling pleasure – feeling or showing pleasure, contentment, or joy. 2) Satisfied – feeling satisfied that something is right or has been done right.
One person said they were happy because they just ate ice cream, another said they were at peace with their life, and another said they wouldn’t be happy until all the homeless people were fed.
It took us to a discussion about happiness as it relates to acting. That’s when I noticed a disconnect; people had a hard time with a feeling of contentment with their acting. They related happiness to the actual booking, or how much money they were being paid, what their billing would be, or if they were auditioning enough. If that’s how you measure your happiness, your degree of happiness and contentment is going to be quite a roller coaster ride.
I asked them to take inventory on themselves and think about this idea as it relates to acting. And I ask those of you reading this. In terms of your acting career, how happy are you? And more importantly, how do you measure it?
We came to this conclusion.
Your happiness is directly related to your discipline.
That seems to be true in life, if you want to lose weight, you have discipline, and if you want to get in shape you have to exercise, if you want a good relationship there is a particular discipline in paying attention to your partner, listening, being there for them, making compromises to serve the relationship. So your degree of happiness can be related to your discipline.
Consider that in your acting career. I believe it can affect your consciousness, and opinion about yourself and your work. I notice actors that go into an audition who are complete in their preparation work, have a certain feeling of joy and accomplishment. If they feel disciplined in their process, feel prepared and good about the audition, the actual getting the part doesn’t destroy them if they don’t get it. When they go in unprepared and don’t do well, they don’t feel good about themselves. If they go in and are not prepared and still get the job, they often don’t feel that good about themselves. It’s the dedication and discipline that keeps them in balance and happy. And by happy, I mean content with who they are and how they feel about their work.
I notice that I am happy when I get ahead of my blog writing, get a great idea and let it cook then write it over a period of time. When I do it last minute I don’t feel that good about myself. This has nothing to do with how good it is or how it compares to anything, it’s a feeling of how I feel about myself and my work. Think about that in your acting, check your discipline meter, review your day to day to do lists, your routine, your discipline, and compare it to your happiness and feeling about yourself and your work.