The best way to achieve fame and fortune? Don't focus on them.

If you're getting into the creative arts to get a big paycheck or ego boost: don't.

Renee Taylor: A lot of people say “Oh, I was going to be an actor, I was going to be a writer, I was going to be a director. But I gave it up because I can’t take rejection.”

Well you’ll always have rejection whatever you do. If you’re a plumber you’re going to have rejection.

The thing is you love it and that’s your passion, and that’s your joy, and that’s what you express. And you don’t think about “Are you going to make a lot of money? Are you going to be famous?”

You don’t think about things like that, or it won’t happen. Or if it does, it will be very shallow.

I was asking Lee Strasberg how he liked me on television, and he said he thought that I wanted to be famous more than I wanted to be an artist.

And I said to him, “Can’t you be both?” And he said “Yes, not in that order.”

And I saw that my priorities were not in the right order.

And when your priorities are in order you can achieve everything you want to achieve. But if your priorities are not in order you won’t achieve anything.

So if you’re just wanting to be famous as I see young people want to be, or they just want to be beautiful—they’re really sabotaging themselves, because what you want to be is creative, loving, joyful, expressing yourself. And the outcome will take care of itself or not.

There never will be a final outcome, and there’s no perfection except when you’re dead, because you can never be more dead. No one can ever say, “if she was only more dead, it would be great.” It’s just, it’s the journey, getting there.

I think when anybody famous dies you say “My god, she had everything. She had incredible beauty and talent and sex appeal and fame.” And the pain of not being able to find joy in your life really made me question myself. And it really made me think about, well what are the important things in life? It’s not looks, it’s not fame, it’s not diet, it’s not money. Well what is it? It’s love and it’s joy and it’s creativity. And it’s not getting, “Am I going to get this?” It’s giving, and it’s being able to receive. It’s very important to receive. A lot of people can give, but they can’t receive. When I come out on stage and people start applauding my first reaction is I want to run. It’s very difficult to stay there. At the end of the show too, at the curtain call. It’s very difficult for me to just stand there, and I say “No, just receive people’s message to you. Their appreciation of how much people need to laugh. And what the point of your play is.” My mother’s dream for me was to be famous. And my dream for me was to write about my life and share it with people. And that’s what I’m doing now, so that’s a miracle. A miracle is when you get much more than what you were expecting. And so I’m living in a miracle right now.

A meditation that I do before I go onstage, I will share with you: Before I go onstage I say—I go through my whole life, and you can do it in three minutes—And I say, “help me choose to be a vessel, to be someone greater than myself and bring joy and forgiveness and healing and love.” And then I go onstage.

  • If you want to achieve anything, you have to get your priorities straight.
  • Renowned actress and memoirist Renée Taylor tells us what the influential acting teacher Lee Strasburg told her early on.
  • She shares the meditation practice that she does every time she goes on stage.

Renée's latest project is a play, My Life on a Diet, based on the book of the same name.

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