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12 New Ways to Think About Life – Brian Medavoy

12 New Ways to Think About Life

Colorful planes

2016 has been a year of big strides for me.

I have needed to do a lot of soul searching, planning, thinking and answering very difficult questions. I’ve dealt with adversity as well – but it has only made me stronger.

Through all this, I realized that life is full of really great moments, but there’s also plenty you probably wish you could change. The plain fact is there’s a lot about life you can’t change.

One thing that is in your complete control, however, is your mindset – your self-worth needs to come from within and this shouldn’t be compared or depend on others.

Knowing what makes people happy and how to maintain an optimistic outlook is a science (literally), and rightfully so, because existing in a positive state:

  • Helps you accomplish dreams and goals
  • Makes completing tasks easier
  • Builds self-esteem
  • Improves your relationships
  • Makes it easier to maintain physical health

Understand your current mindset, and then change your negative thoughts into more positive ones, ask yourself the questions below. Consider writing your responses in a journal so you can reflect on your answers later on in the year. See if your priorities have shifted and check that you are still following the path to positivity.

These 14 guiding principles will give you the best odds to achieve success, at least professionally, by helping you improve your outlook on life.

1. What’s Your Purpose?

Many people spend the majority of their life trying to “find” their purpose.

Unfortunately for them, they don’t realize that all they had to do to understand their purpose was look within and ask themselves:

– Who am I?
– What do I care about?

The most direct and fulfilling route to success is to define the specific characteristics of your purpose, and then work on executing strategies to fulfill it. If you still aren’t sure what your purpose is, think of it this way:

Your purpose will be the thing you are most passionate about.

Reflecting on what you enjoy doing, working on, and your hobbies will help you come up with a list of all that inspires you. Narrow it down further by ranking your interests/passions, and you will be left with a short list of your most ardent passions. With your main passion defined, you can pursue your purpose relentlessly.

2. What’s Your Motivation?

I ask this question to clients and potential clients this question all the time. I learn so much from the answer. You have to know what motivates so you can see it – If you can’t see it, you most likely won’t achieve it.

There are times when we all need to reach down deep and pull something out of ourselves that we didn’t know was there. There are early mornings, late nights, and stressful situations when we ask the question, what we are doing and wonder if it’s really worth it. When this occurs, we need to call on something or someone to give us much needed motivation so that we can continue on our journey and complete our goals.

Think of what motivates you to achieve your life goals, and it can’t be money. Being driven by money will only leave you dissatisfied, because you will never have enough, and it comes at severe personal cost.

Challenge yourself to find your personal source for inspiration – a child, dog, lover, or whatever makes you go that extra step. Think of these things when you feel ready to give up.

3. What Did You Learn Today and Who Did I Help Today

I ask this question to myself every night on the way home from work.

You may have completed your formal education, but it’s incredibly important for everyone to ALWAYS seek education and continue learning. This is because consistent learning brings out more fun in life.

Knowledge should be stockpiled, loved, and then shared with those around you.

Information is not only power, it is the currency to self-fulfillment. The more you know about the world, the more you can use that knowledge to better yourself and seek additional opportunities.

It doesn’t matter what you are learning about, as long as you are challenging your brain, questioning why, and rebuking negative preconceived notions. So learn about dog breeds, how to make paper, the history of toast, art… just learn!

4. There Will Always be Problems

Twenty-five years in the entertainment business and X amount of years in life (I know I look 29, but I am a little older than that) have taught me that life is a never-ending circle of problems. They are as consistent as death and taxes. You can always find stress and anxiety, even in happy moments and joyous occasions.

But once you actually appreciate the beauty of the problem, life becomes a hell of a lot easier. It’s like playing the piano. There is no possible way to entirely master that instrument; you could play 12 hours a day for the rest of your life, but someday there will still be someone who invents a new style of playing.

Accepting that disorder and unpredictability is an element of life can help you finally attain some Zen. Knowing that problems are going to come (and there is nothing you can do about it) is empowering. It gives you a sense of control, and problems don’t seem so scary after all.

5. Own Your Mistakes

This one is short and sweet. You made them, and now you get to learn from them. If the lesson is more valuable than the pride and shame of making the mistake itself, then it wasn’t truly a mistake after all.

6. Honesty Counts

Superficiality may rule in Hollywood, but the lessons you learned about telling the truth in grade school still reign supreme. Always go for the cold hard truth.

Work to build your reputation as someone who is known for your constant honesty. That’s a brand you can carry into any business, no matter where your passions take you.

A fudge here, a bent truth there all add up to a string of lies that can quickly spread out of control. There’s a good chance you will get caught in your lie. When that happens it is extremely hard to rebuild trust with the injured party. Being honest will make you happy, because you’re not selling out or stressing to remember what you said.

7. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself to do something that is uncomfortable every day.

If you’re an overachiever and really want to push yourself, complete three things each day that are uncomfortable to you. Why you ask? Because getting out of your comfort zone is a verifiable psychological concept that can assist you in making changes in your life. These positive changes can lead to tangible personal growth and success.

Even though stress is generally avoided, a little bit of stress is actually healthy for us. Stress actually motivates and pushes us to finish things they we have been procrastinating. Research has even shown that those who are willing to take risks (i.e. step out of their comfort zone) will reap the biggest rewards. It’s the same as working out to get in shape.

You can’t do the same thing day in and out and expect to see change – challenging yourself is the only way to see results!

8. Confidence is Key

When you’re confident in what you’re doing and your abilities to complete it, it will sting a lot less when things don’t go your way. Sure, it will still hurt when you fail, and you may even doubt your abilities. But if you maintain confidence in yourself, your passion, and purpose, that will give you the courage to continue and the assurance to know you will reach success.

Without that confidence, it’s much easier to get caught up in what others tell you to do and waver from your principles.

9. Who are Your People?

Surround yourself with people who have strength in areas that you know nothing about.

Listening and learning about other peoples’ backgrounds fuels your creative stimulation and gives you perspective. If you need inspiration for a new role or project, you may not need to look any further then your friends. Knowing a diverse group of people is a gift; use it to your advantage.

Your success later on depends on the friends you chose as ultimately you are betting on each other. I am not sure WME (William Morris Endeavor) would be around today if it were not for the close relationship Patrick Whitesell had with Scott Stuber and vice – versa. I am real proud of my horses and friends I went up the ranks with. They are all running studios, law firms and agencies.

Scott Stubber, Richard Lovett, Jason Sloane and Brian Medavoy
From left to right: Scott Stubber, Richard Lovett, Jason Sloane and Brian Medavoy

I get asked all the time what kind of company are you going to build. My answer is always, if I surround myself with people I like, trust, laugh, learn from and could teach, the rest will take care of itself.

10. What are Your Goals?

Look at yourself honestly: who do you want to be, and what are you willing to do to become that person?

Once you have clarified your goals, you need to write them down, so that you can look at them to see if you are on the right track to accomplishing them. Taking the time to define what you want to accomplish is paramount to actually accomplishing it.

There’s a lot of research and helpful tips available online to help you write your goals in such a way that they are SMART (specific, measurable, realistic, attainable, and trackable). Do a little research to set yourself up for success by concentrating on developing your goals.

11. Find the Moments

Work on existing for the memorable moments. He or she who ends up with the most moments wins! Document your moments, because they are magic. When you aren’t living in the “now”, you miss the moments. That’s when you wake up and realize that the years have passed you by.

I need to have three moments a day. These moments can vary from signing a client to just noticing and appreciating the weather in the morning.

12. Prove Things to Yourself

A great moment in RUDY when Charles Dutton’s character told Sean Astin, “In this life, you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody but yourself.” If you take this into your rooms and auditions, I promise you will see amazing results.

Easier to said then done. At some point, all of your ideas, goals and time spent need to add up to results. First for yourself – then your results should create value – value for others.

It’s in this notion that I always ask others what your drive and motivation are.

How do you watch the award shows? Are you rooting for your peers or pissed that you are not up there? Give love and you will get it back in spades.

The second best use of your time, other then with your family, will be pursuing the dreams that have been planted in your heart – doing the work and creating whatever it was you were put here to design. Finding yourself is the beginning of the journey. Through faith, hope and perseverance, you’ll continue on your journey toward your purpose, which is your unique why that only you have been given.


When we are brave enough to act, put things in motion and keep moving, we begin to realize the pursuit of life that we’ve imagined is worth living. Assuming we give maximum attitude and plan things out intelligently and thoughtfully, the best bet in life is always the one we place on ourselves. It’s experience that backs up our bet or words – you now have that. It’s living in the moment that gives meaning to everything.

You have the opportunity to blend your unique talent with enthusiasm, spirit and moxie, creating things and helping others, like no one else ever has in history. There’s a tremendous amount of power in that. There’s pride in that. It’s a lot of responsibility, and equal parts exciting and exhilarating. I can assure you — you need to desire and want this more than anyone else to achieve success, respect and accolades.

Success, however you define it, will always require that you care and that you work harder, smarter and more efficiently than anyone else. Even when the value that you create is for others. This mentality of desire is absolutely imperative for continuing on the path of creating beautiful work and delivering value of exceptional quality to whomever you wish to give.

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