How your "Future You" can inspire you now
Now that we're beginning a new year, it brings to mind our hopes and goals for the year ahead. Many of us spend time thinking about what we dream of in the future - that perfect job, relationship, house, vacation, etc. - and how wonderful our life will be when those things happen.
In class we do several immersive-type exercises where we commit to the mode of a character, whether it's an improv game or a scripted scene. We literally behave as that character would in given circumstances. So let me propose a Time Travel exercise and a character for you to immerse yourself in right now: Future You.
What is your dream for Future You? Since we're actors, let's assume your Future You has a steady gig on a professional film set. Let's make it really steady: a hit TV show. That may not be your dream, but work with me on this one. You can insert your own dream later.
Now take a moment and think about that. Step into your Future You character, and visualize your life. You drive to work every day, park your car in an assigned space, grab breakfast (usually cooked to order by the set caterer,) report to hair and make-up, chat with the crew and your fellow cast members. You're prepared because you studied your lines the night before and before you're called to set you glance at your mini-sides that were placed in your dressing trailer.
Now imagine Future You's inner life and emotional state. How Future You is confident, happy, grateful for this job. How Future You looks back at all of the work and preparation that took You to get there. How when it seemed like it was a hopeless grind, it was all worth it.
If you were Future You, right now, how would that change your life? Does Future You, mindful of being filmed every day, have a cleaner diet? Work out more? Drink less? Is more organized? Does Future You radiate confidence in every new situation, whether it be an audition, TV interview, or first date?
There are many self-help maxims, one of the most popular for goals or self-improvement to "act as if." So, yes, this is acting as if. Actors face a special challenge - our field is one of the most competitive, and one of the most personally rejecting. It's easy to get derailed and defeated, which sometimes leads us to give up.
But we also have a special asset - we are trained to visualize and use our imaginations. So for 2017, use your special gifts to create your Future You, whatever that may be. And bring your Future You to the present to help you now. My Future Me, who by the way is even bossier than Present Me, is calling for a quick workout before class and as much as I'd like to argue...I gotta run.
Happy New Year!