The fantastic Ox Baker was a world-renowned pro wrestler and one of my childhood heroes. He became a good friend and unofficial mentor when I broke into pro wrestling in my early twenties on the East Coast. Ox was extremely generous with his time and deep knowledge of the game. He was a master of ring psychology. He helped countless newcomers learn the ropes and make their marks through the years.
One thing that impressed me most about my famous friend was his total commitment and dedication. He loved being on camera and entertaining live audiences. He was a consummate showman who always gave one hundred percent. Ox was an old-time pro who embodied the principle that “The Show Must Go On!” I met up with him once at an autograph signing in a tiny video store in suburban New Jersey. Only a handful of people showed up that night, but Ox Baker gave it his all, regaling them with stories and performing as though he was playing to a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden....
Now that we’ve all been staying home more, an old friend has started calling and telling me that he wants to write a book … and wants me to help.
I enjoy the writing and publishing process very much, and have assisted several others with their writing projects through the years. Writing a book is a major project and takes a ton of work. But it can also be a life-changer for those willing to undertake the challenge – and see it through without stopping.
More than a challenge, though, I think of it as a highly complex puzzle. There are countless details to consider, and so many moving parts that need to be put in place to bring a book from concept to completion.
So, my suggestion to my friend – and to you – is to use that quarantine time to start writing towards a book, but to focus first on a writing goal that’s slightly less daunting.
Just because you’ve got down time doesn’t mean you need to tackle the hardest thing possible – in any area of endeavor. Easy does it. Intuit...
As a group, actors are incredibly gifted at beating ourselves up. Please stop. Because the very best reason to stop criticizing yourself is that you’re probably doing it all wrong.
Think about it logically: if all the things you beat yourself up over were true – if you’re really as lazy, untalented, unintelligent, unmotivated, and prone to procrastination as that creepy little voice has been telling you … then you’re probably no good at self-assessment, either.
You’re probably not evaluating yourself correctly. Your judgement is off. Your measuring standards are skewed. It’s like taking your temperature with a thermometer you pull out of the freezer instead of the medicine cabinet. Your numbers will be off because your measuring tools are off. Therefore, the habitual ways in which you criticize yourself – based upon your own inaccurate self-assessments – are fundamentally flawed, as well.
This is no lesson in positive thinking. Instead, this is a lesson in accurate thinking. Don’t...
If you’re an old-time boxing and wrestling fan, you know the name Primo Carnera.
Carnera was a phenomenal athlete – and, apparently, a physical giant. He was a circus strongman in his native Italy before traveling to the U.S. and winning the heavyweight boxing title in 1933. You may remember his (somewhat unflattering) portrayal as the giant boxer who Max Baer defeats in the film Cinderella Man. Better still, you can see the real Primo in two of my favorite old-time movies, Mighty Joe Young (1949) and
The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933).
If you talk with fight fans of the day, they’ll all tell you the same thing: “Primo Carnera was a giant. He was over seven feet tall.”
Actually, he was six-foot-six, certainly very tall for a boxer, but not quite the seven-foot man-mountain people believed him to be.
There’s a reason for this slight discrepancy between perception and reality. Primo’s handlers – and the promoters of his fights – surrounded him with the shortest men the...
During my college years, I met and befriended Ted Arcidi, who has recently appeared in major films like "The Equalizer 2," "The Town," "The Fighter," and the new Chris Evans series "Defending Jacob." We attended schools that were six miles apart, but met and trained at a local powerlifting gym. Shortly after graduation, Ted became the first man in history to bench press over 700 pounds in strict form competition. He surpassed Bill Kazmaier’s previous world record by more than forty pounds, an incredible achievement. For serious lifters, cracking the 700 pound bench press mark was as significant an event in sports history as breaking the four minute mile. For decades, nobody thought it would ever be done.
What always intrigued me most – even more than Ted's monstrous 705.5 pound lift in Hawaii, and his subsequent world record lift of 718.1 pounds – were the discipline and strategy my old friend employed in pursuing those world records.