Chase Your Dream at All Costs, Except One
Are you willing to do anything for the sake of fulfilling your dream? Seriously think about that question. A lot of people flippantly say, “I’d kill for that,” and we know it’s hyperbole. But what happens when the path to your dream is lined with opportunities to compromise your core convictions in order to possibly expedite the journey?
As both a realtor and an actor, I face ethical and moral conundrums fairly regularly. I often write about the misleading practices of real estate agents so you are probably well aware of my values as an entrepreneur in the real estate industry.
But what about the pursuit of my dream of being an actor? Believe it or not there are choices I need to make every day about what kind of actor I want to be and what I am willing to do to make that happen. For any pursuit, we need to first identify our core values. These will act as a anchor when things get rocky or a compass that will help us find true north.
For me, as a severely flawed individual who is doing his best to be a follower of Jesus Christ in all aspects of my life, there are certain things that I personally feel I should refrain from doing. Am I always successful in that pursuit? Hardly. Am I tempted to compromise for the sake of notoriety or accolades? Sure. But I have made a commitment from a young age about the kind of man I want to be and though I often fail to attain to the ideal, it doesn’t lower the standard.
For instance, there is certain adult language that I am not comfortable uttering in a show. Have I uttered those words under my breath? Sure. But in moments of frustration and personal weakness. I can think of multiple occasions in which I was unable to pursue a coveted role due to the adult content within the show. Even though I was approached by the directors personally, and may have eventually won the roles, I had to decline due to personal convictions.
The other area of contention for a lot of fellow actors is my commitment to only kiss one woman, my wife. As a matter of fact, she is the only woman I have ever kissed. That doesn’t make me special or better than anybody else, it simply is what it is. However this commitment essentially rules out the possibility of me ever playing any romantic, leading man role. That is ultimately why I have gravitated toward, and been successful in, musicals and plays with darker tones. The more research I do, I find that there are many leading roles that would not be considered romantic, and I have made it my goal to chase those kinds of roles.
But every so often, there isn’t a clear delineation about what type of leading role it is or what the director is planning to do with a given character/relationship with the story. Maybe I should do more research before auditioning, but I simply don’t have the time to procure every script ahead of time and scour each page to find anything that could possibly be something I wouldn’t be comfortable with. If I did that, I’d probably never audition for anything.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, because once again, I have had to make the tough decision to turn down a role that was offered to me because I was unwilling to kiss a woman who is not my wife. Now don’t get me wrong, it stings. And a part of me would like to agree with fellow actors and say, “it’s no big deal.” Not so I can go smooching other women, but so that I can actually add credits to my resume and open up more opportunities for myself as an actor. But ultimately I cannot wrap my head around how someone could watch their spouse kiss and be intimate with another person. They say it doesn’t mean anything but I know for a fact that infidelity and promiscuity in show biz is becoming the rule, not the exception.
As a father, I want my kids to see that I love their mother more than anyone else, and she is the only one who gets that type of affection from me. And more importantly, as a husband, I refuse to open a door to temptation or even comparison. It’s simply not worth it. And believe me, I have made enough stupid decisions in my life to erode trust between me and my wife that I have had to rebuild day by day.
Maybe I’m over-dramatizing something insignificant and innocent, but I am reminded at times like these that many times along our journey we are going to be given opportunities to compromise what we believe in in order to achieve our objective. It’ll be subtle, and probably seductive due its relative ease, but you will never be able to look at yourself the same way knowing that you were willing to sell a part of who you are just to go after some stupid dream.
There are going to be sacrifices that we need to make when chasing our dream. But our desire for pleasure or prestige should never come at the cost of our personal integrity.