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How to excel at the moments that matter in life: Think like an actor

https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-excel-at-the-moments-that-matter-in-life-think-like-an-actor/

ideas.ted.com

How to excel at the moments that matter in life: Think like an actor
This post is part of TED's "How to Be a Better Human" series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community; browse through all the posts here. When was the last time you performed? Was it in a college play? A middle school talent show?

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Thinking like an actor

We can use performance techniques off stage to create a reality of our choosing.

Using acting techniques isn’t the same thing as manipulating people, or being phony or fake. Instead, it’s about communicating in a way that moves others to see your point of view and, at times, act in your favor. Essentially, this comes down to being intentional — with yourself and with others — about what you’re trying to achieve.

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Know your big picture goal

An actor always performs with a clear purpose or motivation in mind. When you’re thinking about your next high-stakes situation, ask yourself the same question that actors ask when developing a character: “What’s my end goal?”

Think about your long-term objective, not just the immediate one. 

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Think about the other person

... and how you want them to feel. The choices made by an actor during a performance — in speech and movement — are in the service of attaining their goal and achieving a specific impact on their audience.

Not everything you say or do is going to work, but if you can fluidly play one action after another in pursuit of your objective, it gives you this ability to improvise in the moment and be flexible.

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Scared? Accept it

Many of us stick to playing it safe, but that’s the killer of any great performance.

There’s no magic trick for dissolving fear, but you can manage it: Before you go into a situation that matters, take some time to identify your greatest fear or fears. Be as specific as possible and name exactly what it is. Then, go for it.

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