Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is one thing all of us have to figure out at some point in our lives. It can often be intimidating when we think about and compare ourselves to others who have a history of success like, say for example, Christopher Walken. No we’re not going to look up to some CEO of a company because chances are there are only a small percentage of people who will, or want to take on that job position. Walken on the other hand is more fun to talk about. Also, he is a talented actor mostly known for his roles as the intimidating, creepy character that often snaps into insanity. So you may be asking, “Well how is that going to help me find a job? Should I go in to interviews and act like a creepy Christopher Walken role?” First, the answer is no. Insanity only works for Walken, and only in the movies. Second, the point is Walken is highly successful because he has a diverse range of talents from jumping on opportunities when they present themselves.
In over 35 years of being on the screen and stage, Walken has rarely turned down a job. He believes all experiences, whether good or bad, are always rewarding in that they can be learned from. Originally, Walken wanted to study dance and did so until he was offered a part on stage in a musical performance. Not his original plan or passion, but if he had not taken this critical opportunity, his career path could have been drastically different.
To further my point, jumping on opportunities that may be different than originally intended such as online education or dance classes, makes for a more interesting person. When a person is more interesting, a sense of intrigue is instilled in others, leading to a higher demand. In his 1978 film “Deer Hunter,” Walken plays a Vietnam soldier who eventually loses his mind and dies during a Russian roulette showdown. His performance was so powerful he soon moved on to several jobs where he played the role of the “one to beware of.” It could have been easy for him to just stick to that persona. Instead he expanded his performances with guest spots on Saturday Night Live, and a self-choreographed dance performance in Fat Boy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice.” Showcasing his other talents opened up other opportunities and eventually landed him in the role of the Gag Shop owner in the remake of “Hairspray.”
All in all, the lesson is clear. Limiting yourself to one role limits your possibilities. Maybe in the future Walken will turn from his acting career and teach us the art of awesomeness in an online training class from his remote, country home.
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Colorado Technical University
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