How do you approach your acting career? Pessimistically or optimistically? I highly advise the latter. I say that with a caution to ground your optimism in reality; thinking you might get pulled out of extras’ holding and asked to be a series regular to replace an actor leaving at the end of the season is very optimistic and highly unrealistic.

It can be easy to get caught in the pessimistic trap: “I didn’t get a callback. That casting office is never going to call me in again.” “That was a terrible audition! I had to glance at the sides.” “Everyone else looks more like the character. I’m totally wrong for the role.”

The reality: If casting directors banned actors who did not get callbacks from their offices, there would be no such thing as the entertainment industry. They want to see your ability to wear the character’s “shoes”, not test your memorization skills. As long as your headshot doesn’t look more like everyone else in the waiting room, assume those responsible for calling you in know what they are doing.

Think a dose of optimism might be more in line with reality?: “I didn’t get this one, but that’s okay. Booking is just a bonus; albeit highly desirable (and hopefully profitable) one. I had a positive interaction with the casting office – who decided I was appropriate enough to bring in for an audition.” “That was a great audition! I made, hopefully unique and appropriate, character choices based on the script and feel I brought the character to life.” “There is nothing in my marketing materials which would cause anyone to think they are getting a T-bone steak when they are actually getting asparagus. I have the same opportunity as everyone else stepping into that room. I’m making the most of it.”

Off hand, I can’t think of a single thing related to an acting career or life in general that can’t be looked at pessimistically or optimistically. You can be a series regular on a successful show and constantly think “probably won’t get renewed next season; hope I can book another role”. You can book a pilot that doesn’t get picked up and think “didn’t get picked up, but I’m that much closer to booking a successful show”.

Which personality are you? Which would you prefer to be around? Which is more likely to encourage you to take the steps (classes, networking, etc.) to improve your odds of success? Which is better for your health?