Have you ever been to JFK? It's a mess - so crowded, no parking, and it seems like no one has any idea what they're doing. And on your way there, no matter where you're coming from, you're always going to be stuck in a ton of traffic.
I had a 3pm flight scheduled, and I'm generally someone who HATES feeling rushed, so I like to leave for airports at least three hours before the flight is scheduled to take off.
I was dragging my luggage along and saw a cab and hailed it.
I got in, and it turned out to be some weirdo guy who had no idea what was going on...
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"JFK," I replied.
"Oh, JFK! Okay. Can I turn the meter off?"
What? Why would he want to turn the meter off?
That made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Aren't cabs supposed to always have the meter on so you know you're not being overcharged?
"I'd prefer you keep the meter on," I said.
The cab driver then proceeded to explain to me that it's a flat $52 fare, and if I could pay him cash, it would be really helpful so that he could keep a larger share of it.
Well, I personally don't know the rules, and I really felt uncomfortable doing that, but instead of going with my gut and sticking to my first decision, I said okay.
We started driving, and then a couple minutes later he turned back to me and asked another question:
"Which way would you like me to go?"
Hmmm... I have no idea... Whichever way is fastest, no? Maybe the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel?
Instead, I opened my mouth and what came out was the following: "I trust you, just go whichever way you think is best."
The cab driver now looked as confused as I felt.
Dammit. Why did I just say that?
After about 25 minutes, I noticed we were somewhere in the middle of Chinatown near the Lower East Side.
What in the hell?
"Where are we?" I asked.
"I don't know," came the reply.
Oh my god.
Suddenly the cab driver randomly started cursing and yelling out the window at some pedestrian.
Another few minutes passed, and he looked back at me and said, "Don't worry, I will reach JFK for you."
This was NOT good.
Another hour passed, and we were still nowhere near the airport.
We were stuck in standstill traffic and the cab driver seemed to be mumbling to himself angrily about drivers who didn't know how to drive.
Oh, the irony.
Another thirty minutes passed, me feeling horribly worried the whole time (and experiencing the awful feeling of having drunk too much coffee).
FINALLY we got to the airport. Luckily I still had about 30 minutes until the flight took off, but the security lines were INSANE.
Well, long story short, I made it just in time to my plane and was one of the last people to board.
So why am I telling this ridiculous story?
Well, besides learning that I can't always trust cab drivers to know where they're going, I also learned another important lesson that day:
Being decisive and not letting people control what you say and do is crucial in life.
Throughout your time on this planet (and especially in your acting career), you're going to run into hundreds or even thousands of people who will try to tell you that what you're doing isn't the best decision, and that you should change your thinking or strategy.
Don't just follow someone's advice without first thinking hard!
You need to consciously choose who to listen to and why.
If a casting director says you need a new headshot because the background is too dark or a friend mentions you're not getting enough work because you don't have an agent, that does NOT mean you suddenly need to pay for new headshots or spend the next three months looking for an agent!
Think about what your goals are long term and when people give you their advice, write it down in a safe place to consider when the time is right. The more you just trust random people without truly asking yourself whether what they're suggesting is going to fit within your long term plans, the more you're bound to stay stuck.
And hold the same standards for me too! Just because I'm giving you tips doesn't mean you should take action on what I say immediately if it doesn't fit within your goals.
I think I'd like to sum up this email with a simple quote by Raymond Hull:
"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."
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