Thursday, November 3, 2011

52. Annnnnnd... ACTION!

"Wishing doesn't make it so; making it so makes it so." - Lena Stevens, The Power Path

Gooood morning, people!

Had a monologue coaching appointment with Kathryn Bild yesterday. She and I hadn't met in a while. After we chatted it up a bit about what I had been up to recently and about the blog... then she asked me... point blank... "So what have you actually been DOING for your ACTING lately?"

Called OUT! Yikes!

Thankfully, I had been DOING some acting lately (my on-camera class and some voiceover training), so I had a couple things to talk about... Whew!

But it got me to thinking... What good is all this talking and blogging about the creative process of an actor if I am not actually DOING any acting?

Don't get me wrong! I am not going to stop with the AcceptanceProject. I am committed to finishing my 180 blog posts. Trust and believe.

But it was an important reminder for me to note that THINKING about acting is not acting. TALKING about acting is not acting. And WRITING about acting is not acting. Though I have found value in all of those things.

ACTING is acting.

And I think it's important to find a balance. I want to make sure that my thoughts and motives are in alignment with my values as an artist/human... which become clearer to me by thinking, talking and writing... but when it comes to getting into the thick of really learning about how to be a better actor... well, the only way to learn it is to take action and ACT.

Sooooooo, I thought I'd share with you all one of my favorite blog posts written on the subject of ACTION. (Anyone sensing the irony here?)


Anyway, why reinvent the wheel and try to write something brilliant about action... when it's already been done?

Below is a guest post by Leo Babauta of ZenHabits (naturally).

Enjoy!... But don't just READaboudit... take ACTION!


The Little Rules of Action

“The shortest answer is doing.” - Lord Herbert
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.
Too often we get stuck in inaction — the quagmire of doubt and perfectionism and distractions and planning that stops us from moving forward.
And while I’m no proponent of a whirling buzz of activity, I also believe people get lost in the distractions of the world and lose sight of what’s important, and how to actually accomplish their Something Amazing.
And so today I’d like to humbly present a few little rules of action — just some small reminders, things I’ve found useful but by no means invented, common-sense stuff that is often not common enough.
1. Don’t overthink. Too much thinking often results in getting stuck, in going in circles. Some thinking is good — it’s good to have a clear picture of where you’re going or why you’re doing this — but don’t get stuck thinking. Just do.
2. Just start. All the planning in the world will get you nowhere. You need to take that first step, no matter how small or how shaky. My rule for motivating myself to run is: Just lace up your shoes and get out the door. The rest takes care of itself.
3. Forget perfection. Perfectionism is the enemy of action. Kill it, immediately. You can’t let perfect stop you from doing. You can turn a bad draft into a good one, but you can’t turn no draft into a good draft. So get going.
4. Don’t mistake motion for action. A common mistake. A fury of activity doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. When you find yourself moving too quickly, doing too many things at once, this is a good reminder to stop. Slow down. Focus.
5. Focus on the important actions. Clear the distractions. Pick the one most important thing you must do today, and focus on that. Exclusively. When you’re done with that, repeat the process.
6. Move slowly, consciously. Be deliberate. Action doesn’t need to be done fast. In fact, that often leads to mistakes, and while perfection isn’t at all necessary, neither is making a ridiculous amount of mistakes that could be avoided with a bit of consciousness.
7. Take small steps. Biting off more than you can chew will kill the action. Maybe because of choking, I dunno. But small steps always works. Little tiny blows that will eventually break down that mountain. And each step is a victory, that will compel you to further victories.
8. Negative thinking gets you nowhere. Seriously, stop doing that. Self doubt? The urge to quit? Telling yourself that it’s OK to be distracted and that you can always get to it later? Squash those thoughts. Well, OK, you can be distracted for a little bit, but you get the idea. Positive thinking, as corny as it sounds, really works. It’s self-talk, and what we tell ourselves has a funny habit of turning into reality.
9. Meetings aren’t action. This is a common mistake in management. They hold meetings to get things done. Meetings, unfortunately, almost always get in the way of actual doing. Stop holding those meetings!
10. Talking (usually) isn’t action. Well, unless the action you need to take is a presentation or speech or something. Or you’re a television broadcaster. But usually, talking is just talking. Communication is necessary, but don’t mistake it for actual action.
11. Planning isn’t action. Sure, you need to plan. Do it, so you’re clear about what you’re doing. Just do it quickly, and get to the actual action as quickly as you can.
12. Reading about it isn’t action. You’re reading an article about action. Ironic, I know. But let this be the last one. Now get to work!
13. Sometimes, inaction is better. This might be the most ironic thing on the list, but really, if you find yourself spinning your wheels, or you find you’re doing more harm than good, rethink whether the action is even necessary. Or better yet, do this from the beginning — is it necessary? Only do the action if it is.
“Talk doesn’t cook rice.” - Chinese Proverb

(Thanks, Leo! ... Don't you just LOVE him!?)


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