We’re All Actors

How did you act the last time you had an important interview or first date?

Did you spend additional time to cultivate your appearance? Be more sociable than you might otherwise be? Or avoid that dish that was likely to paint your face with brightly coloured sauce?

We like to believe that our behaviour is consistent. Yet when we seek to put our best selves forward, we often make changes.

Acting is defined as ‘temporarily doing the duties of another person.’ And personal transformation, could be described as ‘the ability to maintain the duties of the person you want to become.’

They’re not too dissimilar.

Maybe this is the secret. That by changing our behaviours, to align with a desired ideal, we can inadvertently manifest the lives we want to live.

When watching the main act at a music festival recently, I couldn’t help but notice the construct we were buying into. The elevated stage allowing the singer to tower above us authoritatively, the carefully crafted haircut and the forced nonchalance of the lead singer. All combined to create a specific ‘rock star esk’ impression. I always assumed that manufactured bands preyed on the naivety of 13-year-old kids, yet there we were, a bunch of adults, no less sold on the performer in front of us.

I felt a similar feeling when watching a documentary about memorable campaign battles for the US presidency. I was surprised by how many times candidates were referred to as being ‘right for the role’ because they ‘appeared presidential’ as though their stance, confidence, presence, showmanship, speech, delivery and humour all came together to form the bedrock for ‘playing the part’ we call President.

I guess this makes sense.

No single person has all the answers and life experiences to address the problems and hurdles that one will face in life. Therefore, it should be expected that a certain amount of acting will be needed to figure it out.

But is it authentic?

The answer is both yes or no, depending, I believe, on if the change you’re seeking is pushing you either in, or away from, a direction that is congruent with your aspirations.

As long as your intentions are true to yourself, then it is 100% possible for someone to enact a considerable change from who they are, to whom they want to be, and it be authentic. The secret, however, is the consistency of that change. Change takes time. Only over a prolonged period, will this be perceived as authentic, both internally and externally in the eyes of others.

Assuming that you believe in my theory, that with enough perseverance, any act can become authentic, the question we should all be asking ourselves is..

What role do I want to play in life? And what new behaviours and actions do I have to undertake, to make this act convincing?