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PrintHow many times have you watched a film and thought: “It would be fun to be an actor”? As Bollywood celebrates its centenary, let’s see what we can learn from acting.

To start with, we all play different roles every day: a spouse, father, boss, subordinate or colleague; we constantly slip in and out of roles. Of course, when we confuse our parts in a relationship, things start to go awry. Imagine talking to your junior colleagues as if they were your children!

The actor must know his part (and lines) well; he knows his cues, and spends a lot of time rehearsing. As professionals, can we make the same claim? That presentation we have to make – has it reached near perfection?

Nothing an actor does in a movie is a random act; he will always seek out the motivation for what his character has to do or say. Do you know what your motivations are? Why did you choose this particular line of work? Why do you want to join that particular company? You always need to know “Why you do what it is that you do.”

The most admired performers are the ones who put in the hours, keep their commitments, turn up on time and take on more challenging roles progressively. This is no different for people like you and me as we try to build our reputations through our body of work.

Another thing we can learn is how we define or limit our opportunities. If you wanted to be an actor, do you want to do street theatre? Hollywood? Bollywood? Local television? Visualising our goals and then putting in the effort to achieve them is critical to our success. But then, since most of us do not take the trouble to do this, we have the depth of a cardboard cut-out.

The actor must continuously adapt to new genres and innovations of his trade. Similarly, we also need to be abreast of change and adapt quickly.

So, even if you cannot dance and sing like a Bollywood actor, there is nothing to stop you from being a star performer in your profession!

– Leon Menezes
The writer is a senior HR practitioner, executive coach and professional writer.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 28, 2013.