As an actress I spend most of my time surrounded by highly creative people and over that time I have come to realise that 99% of people in the entertainment industry suffer from mental illness, particularly depression. The sad truth is that almost a good 50% of all these people will at least attempt suicide or even worse be successful in taking their own lives. While most of the general public blame it on the fame and star studded life style of drugs and drink, has anyone ever thought to ask why? It was a question I asked myself when I had depression and a question I have since asked other people in the industry. The answer was ‘I can’t control my life’. This is something most of the population of the planet can in fact identify with. While most people feel they can’t control their health or their loved ones decisions or money, actors and most people in the entertainment industry find themselves unable to control their work. Feeling like you are unable to control the things which give you happiness leads us to feeling hopeless. This feeling of not being able to control has lead to the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams and Misty Upham along with countless others. When you feel this hopeless the people around you will tell you to quit and put you down leaving you no where to turn to.
I have battled with this for the last five years since graduating drama school, until recently and by recently I mean about a week ago, when I made the decision that my happiness has to be in my hands. Instead of thinking and focusing on what I didn’t have control over and waiting hopelessly wondering if I would get the results I desired to receive, I changed it. I started thinking about what I could control. I can control what I think and believe. Some of you will have heard of LOA: Law Of Attraction which states by simply thinking positive things, positive things will happen. While most people may try this for a few weeks but then give up, getting frustrated as to why it has not yet worked. Take this opportunity with me to push through the frustration and give it a go. Meditation will help you.
While practicing my LOA I started to think about the things I do have control over. My conclusion has left me so busy I don’t have time to reflect on the things I am waiting for. I can send out more head shots, make meetings with directors I know, write to the people I would like to connect with, help others, create my own work, write my own scripts, network, meet friends and I no longer have to just wait for the call to say, you’ve got the part, we start filming soon. Instead while I am busy taking control of my happiness the things I desire the most seem to fall perfectly in place and during that time I have been happy and not frustrated with waiting. Put your happiness in your hands and ask yourself what do I have control over? Now do it!
Fred Astaire was told he couldn’t dance, sing or act and became the greatest tap dancer in the world making 50 Hollywood movies. Daniel Craig was voted the ugliest person in drama school he’s now the sexiest man alive. Robin Williams was voted least likely to succeed and became one the greatest actors in the world bring joy to all who watched him, Meryl Streep slept on a park bench when she was 22 as a struggling actor, she has been nominated for 19 Oscars and won 3. Brad Pitt had a job where he had to move fridges he is now Hollywood’s favourite leading man and has produced almost every movie he has starred in, Harrison Ford was told he was never going to make it and should give up, he went on to be in Star Wars. Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and became the CEO of the biggest production company in the world. Al Pacino was homeless until he was 33 then the producers of The Godfather wanted him fired for the role he eventually went on to be Oscar nominated for and he’s now named as the greatest actor of all time. Marilyn Monroe was told she was too boring to be on screen yet she became the most photographed women in the world. Hilary Swank was fired from a TV job before she went on to win best actress at the Oscars. Stephen Spielberg couldn’t get into film school…he’s now the most successful Hollywood movie director of all time…..so the next time someone says you can’t do something take control and add your name to this list — Quote Mhairi Calvey