To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which was planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Did you find yourself singing those words? Many think of the melody created by Pete Seeger in the late 1950’s, later adapted and recorded by The Byrds. But it was King Solomon, noted for his remarkable wisdom, who is the author of the words. (Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3:1-8 King James Bible).
The passage, and the song that made it memorable, are deep with meaning that can benefit every creative. There is a time and a season that will be best for your purpose. By the way, the Hebrew word that was translated purpose means “pleasant desire, valuable thing”. Understand that the right timing or “season” of your life can be key to your “valuable thing.”
I can remember a casting director that explained the importance of hard work and patience, but also the supreme value of correct timing of an opportunity. Getting your “break” too early, or not at the right time, she explained, could mean you never reach your goal. Or worse, never get a big opportunity again.
Here’s why. Maybe you have a great audition and you land a principle role. Your first big chance to get something meaty on your resume. They may be willing to take the risk on someone a little green, but is that what is best for you? At this time?
When your “valuable thing” comes your way, will you be ready? Or is it your optimal timing? If you get ahead of yourself and do something you are not artistically ready for, you may not do as well as you might with more training. Such a choice could have long term effects. Conversely, the material or project may be substandard, and therefore will not show you in a good light. Here are some other timing issues to consider:
Are you developed enough to go the whole distance? For example, plays take A LOT of rehearsal, films sometimes shoot in remote locations. How’s your confidence level? Could a bit more experience, training, or counseling get you into a better place? Or what about your life circumstance? Some personal situations would warrant a delay or more patience.
How is your stamina? Is your body/mind in shape?
Do you have reliable transportation?
If you are young, how is your maturity level? Even the not-so-young “artistic type” has been known to let their emotions rule over them. It may be the emotion needed for the scene, but do you know how to turn it off at the right time?
Maybe starting small with a season of “planting” before you expect “to reap that which was planted.” Increments of building sometimes make the best talent shine.
None of this is to say don’t pursue your goals full on, nor is it suggesting you turn any offers down. But some actors do. There are those who have a strategy for achievement that does include declining offers.
This idea of timing may help if you don’t get that role you really wanted. It’s not over. There will be other opportunities. In the big picture of things, you want the right thing at the right time.
Consider that your artistic endeavors may have seasons of delay, seasons of building, times of planting, some of losing, others of laughing, and even those of weeping (maybe happy tears).
Over the course of a lifetime of work, a season is not a long time and they all are working together for your good. Embrace the journey… a good time to dance.