A key part of success in any field is mental toughness. The ability to resist the pressures and disappointments of working in the performing arts is an essential part of making a career in acting.
In her book ‘13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do’, psychotherapist Amy Morin says that the mentally tough “do not expect immediate results’. Expecting immediate results is an easy way to put additional pressure on yourself. A lot of the time we crush our own confidence with the expectations that we place on ourselves.
Mentally tough people do not expect immediate results, they spend their time and energy doing the things that create solid skills, knowledge, technique and experience.
How many of us try something for a couple of weeks or even a couple of months and decide it’s not for us? Acting technique is a great example. The technique that we teach at ACS takes REAL TIME to develop REAL SKILLS.
However, most students expect themselves to be really good at it, really quickly. When they aren’t, they feel disappointment and like they have failed.
Who created that expectation? They did. No coach would put that pressure on them.
If you are learning a skill expect it to take months. Compare it to learning the piano, or dance, or some other highly skilled art form. Progress often isn’t visible. In a previous blog, I spoke about the ice cubes that James Clear describes in his book Atomic Habits. While the temperature is rising, you can’t see the molecules being affected but when the temperature hits 32 degrees, they melt.
The simplest tip for mental toughness is don’t expect immediate results, in fact - don’t expect results for quite a while. Be patient. Real skills take real time to develop. Sew the seeds, and wait for them to grow.
To You, The Best
Mark Westbrook is the Head Coach at Acting Coach Scotland