Peter Dinklage – Light Up the Night
Actor Peter Dinklage was stuck in a dead-end job for six years before deciding to challenge his fears and make the leap into acting. His message: Don’t wait to be ready. You won’t be, until you start.
I hated that job, and I clung to that job. Ten years in a place without heat, six years at a job I felt stuck in. Maybe I was afraid of change. Are you?
When I was 29, I told myself, the next acting job I get, no matter what it pays, I will, from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor. Now I didn’t have either the Internet, or a cell phone, or a job. But something good happened. I got a low-paying theater job in a play called Imperfect Love, which led to a film called 13 Moons, with the same writer, which led to other roles, which led to other roles. I’ve worked as an actor ever since. I didn’t know that would happen.
At 29, walking away from data processing, I was terrified, but this made me very hungry, literally. I couldn’t be lazy. Now I tell this story, because the world might say you are not allowed to yet. Please don’t even bother asking. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it. Trust me, the rhythm sets in. Just try not to wait until, like me, you’re 29 before you find it. And if you are, that’s fine, too. Some of us never find it, but you will. I promise you.
Raise the rest of your life to meet you. Don’t search for defining moments, because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened, and they will already happen again. Don’t wait until they tell you you are ready. Get in there. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail.
What did Beckett say? “Ever tried, ever failed, no matter, try again, fail again, fail better.” The world is yours. Treat everyone kindly, and light up the night.
Thank you so much for having me here.