Source: Motivation Heaven
We all have two lives. The second begins when you realize you only have one. This is a universal experience for all creative people, certainly actors, is that the constant rejection. You have to get used to it and you have to get thick-skinned about it. You'll never win unless you also stand to lose. Everything is possible and nothing is guaranteed. Take pains, be perfect.
Transcript (Tom Hiddleston)
I think a myth in the business is that we all have everything to choose from, as we don't. I know, I'm not at the top of everybody's list. You have to earn that place… I have read things and gone, wow, this is amazing. And I've chased it down and knocked on the door and people have said, actually it's not you Tom. We're thinking of someone different. And then my job is to keep knocking on the door and say, let me see if I can change your mind.
I've been very diligent in my training, and tried to listen to the advice of all my teachers and instructors as a student, as an academic, as a training actor. And I always wanted to do right by them. And I found myself, is a very scary moment, when you're a young actor. Most people find themselves in the early 20s and everything is possible, and nothing is guaranteed. If you're lucky enough, you have an agent and you start auditioning and they send you everything from period drama to casualty, dairy milk commercials.
And you are thrown into the business and thrown into it at the deep end. And there's no time for doubt or failure – except routinely, that's what happens to all of us. I perhaps was too careful in auditioning and I would always get close to landing roles into booking jobs, and would never quite get there. I mean, this is a universal experience for all greater people, certainly actors – is that the constant rejection at the beginning.
You have to get used to it and you have to get thick-skinned about it. I was so exhausted because at first you take it very personally. And I thought, well, no one's going to help me get there. The only person who could do this is me. I started preparing in a different way and I sort of stepped up to the plate a better I think, because I could feel time sliding away and I wasn't getting on with life. I just was sort of stuck in this rut of neither acting nor doing anything else.
The experience of being in your twenties is so energetic. And I felt so stagnant actually. So I just kind of changed everything up, and it worked. I'm lucky. I don't know that I've ever been able to to do anything. I say it as a sort of because I'm aware that it can be a strength, but it can also be a weakness. Because the focus is obsessive. So, when I go for something, I go for it at the expense of everything else.
I love what I do, and I feel so lucky that I'm allowed to do it, and that I did get to do it for a living. And cinema and theater have had such a profound effect on me in my life. And so every time a new script or a new role comes along, I'm motivated by the thought, I won't forgive myself if I don't give it everything. But I do try to choose different kinds of things because I'm interested in in the diversity of people and the complexity of people and the multiplicity we contain within us.
I really think the thing that unites us all in the world is that we are constantly inconstant, and that inconstancy and that contradiction is something that I've always tried to explore with my characters because I think that we contradict ourselves all the time. There's the Walt Whitman poem, The Song of Myself: “I am large. I contain multitudes. I contradict myself.”
We all have two lives. The second begins when you realize you only have one. So I'm not wasting any time. And the thing is, you know, with negativity, they are like clouds that pass across the Sun. They will pass, like they're just feelings, you know. And it's important not to dwell on them and just move past it.
There is so much, I find it (maybe it's my nature), but there's just so much about life that's amazing. And when you kind of key into that, nobody has an easy ride. That's for sure. And it's about to get hard, I'm sure. But it also gets better. And the point about going through those experiences is you just have to sort of go: “It is what it is, and it will pass.” And you just need to tap into like how amazing stuff is. It's pretty cool.
I think I always trust my gut. That's all I have, even when I'm working and you're thinking about the shape of a scene and how it should be played, and your head can often get in the way. And you got to trust your gut. It's just, if I'm inspired, if my curiosity is piqued, and I want to chase this possibility down that I see in front of me on my desk.
Some of you may have heard me say this before, but I'm always embarrassed to say I was speak in metaphors. I don't know how to speak in any other way. And for me acting is kind of like playing the piano. And if the piano is the human condition, we all have every single note on that 88 keyboard within us.
For me, every role, I want to be able to play every note and sometimes if a character or a story seems to stretch me in some way, seems to offer up an experience that is new – that is a different chord or a different tune, that is real and true and human and accessible – and no matter how joyous or loving or warm, or how dark or painful, if it seems like an interesting shape to inhabit, I'm running. I know if I'm running towards it already.
So I think it's a quote from Shakespeare, which is four words: take pains, be perfect. I think it's his way of saying, you know, don't be afraid of caring. I gave myself permission to care because there are a lot of people in this world, who are afraid of caring or afraid of showing that they care because it's uncool. It's uncool to have passion. It's so much easier to lose when you shown everyone how much you don't care if you win or lose. It's much harder to lose when you show that you care. But you'll never win unless you also stand to lose.
Basically, you know, I've said it before, don't be afraid of your passion. Like just give it free rein, be honest, and work hard and it'll all turn out just fine.
When I was at drama school, drama school was really hard. They deliberately kind of overworked you and they throw everything out you. I was on a three year course in a drama school in London called Radha. And the first year you kind of work ease, sort of slightly showing your strength and the things that you're good at. And the second year, they throw you everything you can't do, all the things that are your weaknesses. And you're basically to work on your weaknesses. What's the point of working on your strengths? Your working 16-hour days, and you're exhausted, and you're drained, and physically tired? And I kind of lost the love of it. I lost my mojo.
I live near a couple of parks in London. I remember, one night I couldn't sleep and it was the summer. I got up really early in the morning, and I went and walked to the nearest big hill. And I saw the sun rising. Sometimes, I think that's the answer is just get up when the sun gets up and look around and and you realize, you're part of an amazing planet. That's what I do.