Method Acting Your Future Self

We’ve all heard of actors who completely embrace whatever role they are currently playing so they can become that character. Some of them even go to extreme lengths to do so.

For “Last of the Mohicans,” Daniel Day-Lewis spent six months in the wilderness learning how to trap and skin animals and built himself a canoe.

For “Walk the Line,” Joaquin Phoenix spent months learning how to sing and play the guitar and would only respond to his character’s name on set.

Christian Bale lost 120 pounds for his role in “The Machinest” and then put 100 pounds of muscle back on for his role in “The Dark Knight.”

Many of these actors speak like their character, dress like their character, and make only decisions their character would make, even in the off hours when they aren’t filming. They want to BE their character.

What if you used this method to become your future self?

I’m in the process of painting a vivid picture of the person I want to be in the future. Some of the items are things I’m pretty close at attaining but I just want to completely cement them. Others are things I really need to work on. Here are a few things on my list so far:

→ I value health over pleasure and entertainment. I only put things into my body that will fuel and nourish it. I have no desire to poison my body with “food-like substances” or things that will cause my body harm.

→ I’m a bad ass! I get stuff done! I juggle all my roles perfectly. My dreams are big and I’m totally going after them.

→ I know how to access the power of God and I express my beliefs with confidence and charity.

→ I love my spouse unconditionally and shower him with praise, adoration, and affection as often as possible. He is my best friend and partner and we love each either other fiercely. He never has any reason to question my love for him.

So today at work, we had a department activity with pizza and soda. In the past I’ve been very focused on my actions (DOING). This type of situation brings up all the drama in my head. Should I or shouldn’t I? What are people going to say if I don’t participate? I don’t want the attention. It’s not a big deal, I’ll get back on plan tomorrow. Who turns down free pizza? I’m really tired, soda would help me get through the rest of the day. I’ve been really good lately. Life should be enjoyable. Etc etc etc.

Going forward I’m trying to focus more on who I’m BEING. Now that I’ve painted the picture of who I want to be, I can simply method act my future self. My future self wouldn’t eat pizza and soda. It doesn’t matter that it’s free. It doesn’t matter that everyone else is doing it. She doesn’t put crap like that into her body. There isn’t a question of what I should do, because it’s obvious what my character would do. I’m not focused on the doing, I’m focused on the being.

I politely said “No, thank you.” The feelings of missing out and deprivation were much less intense than usual because I was so focused on who I was being, rather than what I was doing (or not doing).

The more complete the picture of my future self is, the easier it will be to method act any scenario that comes up. What would future Mindy do?

There’s a popular saying out there that is some version of “you become what you practice.” If I practice being the person I want to be, I will become the person I want to be.

Who do you want become? Write a list and try out this method. Let me know how it goes!

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