The Most Important Thing

By Lynn Trickey

Normally when I hear something like “making it happen” I think of working myself ’til all hours of the night, working my craft, getting the perfect headshot, the right agent, the best business plan.  And that’s all good.  That’s all stuff we actors have to do.  But lately, I’ve been focusing on something else to make it happen, something that I’ve been forcing myself to do because it really is the most important thing: being happy.

Barf, am I right?  Being Happy?  Trust me, I’m struggling not to judge myself as I write this.  I’m usually the person to say that happiness is the most important thing when I’m secretly thinking that the actual most important thing is impressing that casting director I’m going to see next tomorrow.  But nope.  No.  I’m letting go of that.  I am.  I swear.

I listened to a podcast from The Nerdist this week featuring the hilarious and talented Tony Hale.  The host, Chris Hardwick, asked Tony about his life and work and what keeps him chugging along in this business.  Tony told a story that blew me (away) – he said that for years when he was a struggling actor living in New York he focused on one goal: getting a series.   It’s what kept him going.  It was his dream, what would solve all his problems.  And then he got it.  And he didn’t just get any role, he got to play one of the delightfully weirdest characters on arguably the best comedic series in contemporary television: Arrested Development.

It was his dream job, my dream job, probably your dream job too.  He had a consistent acting gig on TV.  He got to work with the most talented, smart, cool people in the industry.  The writing was amazing, the cast impeccable, the creator – a comedic genius.  And guess what?  Getting that job?  It didn’t make Tony happy.

BOOM.  There it is.  If playing Buster Bluth didn’t make Tony Hale magically happy, there’s no hope for the rest of us!  And by that I mean no outside force is going to make you happy.  That role/agent/headshot/new dress/whatever you’re focusing all your energy wishing you had?  It’s not going to make you happy!  The only thing that will make you happy is stopping yourself right now and accepting and enjoying this moment exactly as it is.  That’s what Tony eventually found worked for him – to stop, reinvest in this present moment, breathe, and just enjoy it.

So that’s what I’m doing to make it happen, I’m making it (me) happy – every moment I can.  So that when that dream job comes, I’ll already be happy.  And I can just enjoy it.

 

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