Do You Worry About the No-Talent Police?

November 17, 2013

actor-insecurity-meryl-streep.jpg“You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good, baby you’re no good.” — Linda Ronstadt

“I’m no good.” “I don’t have what it takes to make it.” “I’m just not that talented.” “No one wants me to succeed.” Are these some of the thoughts that run through your head from time to time? On a monthly basis? A weekly basis? Perhaps even a daily basis? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in capital company. Some of the most acclaimed actors in the business confess to tremendous insecurity, and almost crippling fear. Meryl Streep–one of the most successful actresses of all time by any standard–says, “I say to myself, ‘I don’t know how to act–and why does anybody want to look at me onscreen anymore.’” This is quite a stunning revelation from such a laudable professional, but Meryl goes on to say,  “Lots of actors feel that way.” Mike Myers, he of Austin Powers and Wayne’s World fame, confessed to Details magazine, “I still believe that at any time the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” In her book, The Imposter Syndrome, Dr. Valerie Young claims everyone has varying degrees of self-doubt, but when the condition becomes chronic it can literally “rob you of your success and ultimately your own happiness and fulfillment.” So take heed, young Thespian, because we’re not only talking about your acting goals and ambitions, which are tantamount, no doubt; but we’re also talking about your daily pleasure, and indeed your life overall.

Actor Shia LaBeouf, who waged a fierce battle in the press with the force of nature we call Alec Baldwin, is obviously not lacking in self-confidence or chutzpa; but Shia himself admits, “Most actors on most days don’t think they’re worthy. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it’s a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it, and I’d be on my way.” It’s important to understand that many talented people struggle with issues of self-esteem and self-worth; but the foremost thing to understand is that the successful ones rarely let this condition get in the way of an unyielding commitment to their art, or to their efforts in artistic execution.

What are some of the things you say to yourself that might hinder your success? Is this condition akin to the occasional cold for you or more like a chronic disease? Please share. You’ll find you’re not alone.