Vibrant and Alive: embrace the word “no”

I’ve called sunny and smoggy Los Angeles home for over 25 years. It’s a crazy but lovable place and I initially moved here to pursue an acting career.

Almost everyone in LA works in some aspect of the entertainment industry (movies, television, music, etc). When you say “the business” you are undoubtedly referring to the entertainment industry.

What I know about this town is that it’s alive. There is creativity, vitality and a zest for life like no other place I’ve experienced. It’s a place of possibility. The energy and vibrancy is indescribable to someone who has never lived here.

On the downside, it’s a city where people hear the word “no” all the time. “No, the show was not picked up. No, we’re not hiring. No, you’re too old, or too young.”

Imagine thousands going after the same job, or the same idea that you have. When I was an actor, it always amazed me at an audition to find an entire roomful of men who looked exactly like me!

It’s not uncommon to have hundreds of auditions and not receive an offer. And yet, that doesn’t stop Los Angelenos from pursing their dreams. Most keep coming back for more.

One thing that I learned early on is that you can’t assign much meaning to the word “no.” If you do, you should pack your belongings and head to a much more practical and reasonable city to call home.

Los Angelenos constantly make things up, and perhaps that is the true reason why I love it so much. Spaghetti is constantly thrown against the wall (not literally of course!). When you throw spaghetti against the wall, some of it sticks; some of it doesn’t.

For every box office hit or TV ratings juggernaut, there are literally thousands of ideas or concepts that never make it.

Like spaghetti thrown against a wall, some of it sticks… think Titanic, the Star Warsseries, or Meet the Press, the longest running American TV show now in it’s 70thyear.

And some of it doesn’t stick… like the film Heaven’s Gate(over $120 million in losses), and TV shows cancelled after only one episode (do you remember Dot Comedyin 2000? I do because my partner Chuck worked on this ill-fated show).

The entertainment business – just like everything– is all made up! The city of Los Angeles has taught me this.

Collect Your “No’s”
When you reallyknow and view life from the place that you get to make it up, you can then start to look at what you want to create in your life. Just like throwing spaghetti against the wall, some of it will stick, and some of it won’t. I’ve learned, often the hard way, that collecting some “no’s” is part of the process.

My challenge for you is to make a game of collecting “no’s” in your life. See how many you can get. I believe that the more you collect, the better the chance to actually collect a “yes” – and who doesn’t want that, right?

Let me know how it goes!



  • Dean Regan Reply

    Good Sunday Morning, Rick. Thanks for sending your thoughts out this morning. The idea of receiving a “no” or a “yes” from someone else can really help determine our next step or even a new direction. I’ve experienced a number of disappointments (as we all have) in my life. So many of those disappointing “nos” have also resulted in some amazing “yeses” that have helped to shape my life. To this day, I’m not very good with “no.” I’m not good when others say it to me, and not particularly good when I say it to myself. The critical change has been to identify what I’m appreciating and appreciate it just a little bit when I’m in the midst of a “no experience.”

    This week my 92 year-old mother had to go into the hospital. Unfortunately, with one daughter close at hand and two sons on different coasts, our family has needed to manage my mother’s care with a balance of her clear requests and our need to “care” for her. To that end we have had to say “yes” to situations we don’t agree with and “no” to situations we would like to see happen. This week my mother was very depressed about her declining body. From long distance with her on the iPhone speaker we were able to FOCUS ON THAT SMALL THING THAT WE APPRECIATE in the midst of this medical drama. It was a magical moment where a temporary shift took place that we were able to see the “no” that was facing us (no health, no control) and appreciate that “yes” that my mother was able to embrace in the moment (appreciation for her family and friends). Saying “yes” to love in the midst of the “no” of no control and no health, brought healing to all of us in the moment. It also helped me to see that so many of the “nos” that seem to experience in my life … don’t mean nothin’.

    • Rick Tamlyn Reply

      Dean- I always always always love your insights and how you see things! More to come friend-
      Love- Rick

  • Lula Reply

    Rick!! I LOVE this! It’s exactly the message I needed as I begin a new phase of my life. If I’m going to get to the Intrepid during fleet week, teaching boat load of people about building their amazing lives… I’m gonna have to collect a whole bunch of “nos”. Here’s to playing the game!

    • Rick Tamlyn Reply

      Lula– so great to be with you and be inspired BY you this weekend! YOU got this! Play big indeed. Check out my June event– it will rock your world! Promise.

      Much success-Rick Tamlyn, CPCC, MCC

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