We all want to succeed at our jobs. A successful career can translate to better financial security, increased creature comforts, personal satisfaction, and multiple sexual partners. As we’re reviewing our New Year’s resolutions and creating a plan of action for achieving our goals before the next Dick Clark end-of-year special, you might look at your list of three of four objectives and feel content with the ambitiousness of your targets, and you should. There are many who are just fine with their continued pace, running circles and never looking for a finish line.
Before you close that chapter of your journal, though, you may want to take a look at 29-year old Marilyn Monroe’s specifically detailed New Year’s resolutions, from 1955, for a bit of inspiration.
By the end of 1955, Monroe had already starred in hits like All About Eve, and The Seven Year Itch, but it was the year that she penned this entry into her address book that she was accepted into Lee Strasberg’s prestigious Actor’s Studio. The model and actress was determined to turn the opportunity to study with the best teachers and actors in the world into a career that would beholden her more for her talents than looks.
Here’s the full transcript:
Must make effort to do
Must have the dicipline to do the following –
z – go to class – my own always – without fail
x – go as often as possible to observe Strassberg’s other private classes
g – never miss actor’s studio sessions
v – work whenever possible – on class assignments – and always keep working on the acting exercises
u – start attending Clurman lectures – also Lee Strassberg’s directors lectures at theater wing – enquire about both
l – keep looking around me – only much more so – observing – but not only myself but others and everything – take things (it) for what they (it’s) are worth
y – must make strong effort to work on current problems and phobias that out of my past has arisen – making much much much more more more more more effort in my analisis. And be there always on time – no excuses for being ever late.
w – if possible – take at least one class at university – in literature –
o – follow RCA thing through.
p – try to find someone to take dancing from – body work (creative)
t – take care of my instrument – personally & bodily (exercise)
try to enjoy myself when I can – I’ll be miserable enough as it is.
It’s interesting to see just how dedicated Monroe was in throwing herself into Strasberg’s classes as well as fine-tuning her “instrument” through dance, exercise, and people-watching. Even more interesting, is Monroe’s insistence in enjoying herself as much as possible, because she’ll be “miserable enough as it is.”
Despite her grim prediction, Monroe’s determination to become a better actress panned out well: in 1960 she won a Golden Globe for her role in Some Like It Hot.