If life is a series of acts and actors, who is in your cast and what part are you playing today?
AJ Jacobs lived life biblically, according to the Old Testament, for one whole year in 2007. He has read all volumes, A-Z, of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and he spends his life immersing himself in his subjects of study as a human guinea pig, writing all along the way.
He is basically my idea of a superhero. Someone with the discipline to fully embody an idea and follow-it through to fruition – embracing the radical changes he has to make in his day-to-day life.
Recently, Jacobs gave a talk on “The Importance of Self-Delusion in the Creative Process” and approached the ‘fake it till you make it’ cliché that we all know, in a unique way.
His story began by subbing for a non Daniel Day-Lewis movie-actor at the Oscars, affording him the opportunity to rub shoulders with high-end celebs for a ‘hot second’, as I assume they still say in the Hollywood. And although he was not actually the actor he was filling in for, the experience quickly went to his head as he was shocked to not be recognized getting coffee days later.
The story continues as he ran the email account for his hot babysitter’s match.com profile, (odd, but he explains), receiving raving compliments that raised his spirit, and pig-headed comments that send him into a tizzy just as fast.
Regardless of the fact that these comments and accolades
were meant for others, Jacobs in acting, or ‘living’, out these experiences was
able to feel the associated emotions and make them part of his personality,
even if just for a moment.
It is this idea of ‘method acting’ that is fascinating when applied to our lives. In marketing we call it 'leading with your why", or "letting your passion drive your brand". But what it actually comes down to confidence. Everyone has internal motivations for the work that they do, the difference is believing in these motivations as the driving force behind everything you do.
Take a look at dating, interviews, or any other aspect of your life in which you are trying to make an impression. The people who succeed are the ones that are confident. The ones who walk-the-talk and believe that what they are saying is not only true, but the driving factor behind everything they do.
In our workshops, we teach you how to identify your "why statement" and "elevator pitch", but it is not until you bust it out in conversation and speak the words with force that it will come alive.
You must live your motivations - to become a method actor and never break character. If you act like someone who gets shit done, guess what – shit is gonna’ get done son.
But this means putting yourself in the shoes you aspire to wear and starting to walk. I am not a blogger or copywriter, but here is another post for the books. I am more naturally inclined to just watch another episode of Breaking Bad, but I’ve created a schedule and have my list of books to churn through.
In order to be who you want to become, you have to start acting like the people who are already doing what you want to do.
Up until this week, I always thought of Ashton (Christopher) Kutcher as a moron that tweens loved to look at. But Ashton is trying to shake his 'That 70’s Show' stupidity-persona and become someone who is as inspirational as Steve Jobs.
The movie still might be crap, (time will tell), but he has succeeded in shifting his image. Leaving me with a YouTube link to his Teen Choice Awards speech in my inbox, signed: “Good Speech. Surprise! Love, Mom.”
Whether you think he is full of shit or not, it doesn’t matter. Ashton believes it to be true. Ashton is speaking it with confidence. And "Christopher" made it part of his life by living it. He took the Steve Jobs teachings to heart, acting them both on and off the silver screen, and no matter what you think of him personally, he is having one hell of a week right now.
So, where do you start? The title of this article is to “Stop Acting & Start Acting.” What does that mean?
It means you should stop reading the lines on the page and start living them. Stop saying you are going to get into shape and just go work out. Stop saying that you will learn that language, or pick up that instrument, or try meditation, or read that book and start doing it!
Immerse yourself in what you believe and start acting like the people you read about or watch on TED.com. I am not going to be living biblically this month, but I’ll sure as hell be shaking something up in my life, and I hope you do too.