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Desire & Persistence

Editor's Note: Early on in my career, when going through a particularly difficult time, I was given a piece of encouragement. I have this printed and framed where I can see it everyday:

It's a rare person who doesn't get discouraged. Whether it happens to us or to an associate we're trying to cheer up, the answer centers around one word: perseverance.

The value of courage, persistence, and perseverance has rarely been illustrated more convincingly than in the life story of this man (his age appears in the column on the right):

Failed in business ....................... 22
Ran for Legislature - defeated ........... 23
Again failed in business ................. 24
Elected to Legislature ................... 25
Sweetheart died .......................... 26
Had a nervous breakdown .................. 27
Defeated for Speaker ..................... 29

Defeated for Elector ..................... 31
Defeated for Congress .................... 34
Elected to Congress ...................... 37
Defeated for Congress .................... 39
Defeated for Senate ...................... 46
Defeated for Vice President .............. 47
Defeated for Senate ...................... 49
Elected President of the United States ... 51

That's the record of Abraham Lincoln. My very first acting teacher gave our class a piece of advice that I live by to this day: Desire and persistence are my two best friends. This holds true for any endeavor you choose to succeed in. I get plenty of emails (along with posts on our message boards) asking questions like, "I'm 40 years old. Am I too old to start an acting career?" or "Should I pursue my dream of becoming an actor?" For the record, it's never too old to start an acting career and you should pursue any dream if you genuinely have the desire to do so.

Success in any field - especially acting - takes a lot of time, dedication and persistence. If you have a true desire and are willing to persist even under the most difficult of times, you will succeed... limited only by your definition of success.

You may not be successful in a year (again, by however you define success), or 5 years or even 10 years. This is not to say you will not be making progress but to build a long constant career as an actor takes constant work. If the desire is truly there, you can succeed.

Many people simply state, "How can I be famous?" The road to fame is fleeting. The road to a long career as a successful working actor is not. What is fame anyway? There are so many "famous" actors who are always working in film, always showing up somewhere, yet 99% of the country couldn't tell you their name or recognize them if they saw them. (Do you know who Paul Giamatti or Hector Elizondo are?! Hector has 96 film credits on his resume...96! And you've either heard of or seen most of them.)

Fame is very fleeting and should not be a motivating factor for anyone to pursue a career as an actor. Obtaining constant steady work and the desire to create should be.

Re-read the record of Abraham Lincoln again. He will forever be one of the most influential people in American history. If he gave up at any point in his defeats, or listened to others around him who said things like, "That's impossible," he wouldn't have been the man he was.

Desire and persistence worked for Abraham Lincoln, and it can certainly work for you.

By ActorPoint.com