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10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

Let’s face it, if you don’t like Patrick Stewart, you are vehemently anti-Star Trek, or you think we’re talking about Patrick Kaleta. Unlike the overtly aggressive NHL player, Sir Patrick Stewart has been winning hearts since premiering on stage in 1966. Despite a sprawling history with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Patrick Stewart’s best known roles include Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-men films (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Charles Xavier respectively). Determined to be among the world’s best humans, Patrick Stewart’s accomplishments span far beyond the world of acting. An avid humanitarian and activist, Sir Patrick works tirelessly for charity groups like Amnesty International, Refuge and Combat Stress, plus aids scholarships and UN organizations. Such a well rounded, selfless person certainly has something to teach us mere mortals, including these ten impressive life lessons.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Despite impressive accomplishments, high salaries, and  fans around the world, Patrick Stewart seems to never let it get to his head. The first to laugh at himself, Patrick isn’t afraid of his perceived shortcomings: “I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair.” 

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    Where most stars might want to nurture the idea that their wise roles are true to life, Patrick instead states: “Having played many roles of scientific intellect I do have an empathy for that world. It’s been hard on me because flying the Enterprise for seven years in Star Trek and sitting in Cerebro in X-men has led people to believe that I know what I’m talking about. But I’m still trying to work out how to operate the air conditioning unit on my car.”

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      Embrace New Things

      Where many older celebrities avoid social media, and sometimes the internet all together, Patrick Stewart is quick to embrace new technologies. Patrick Stewart has become an internet darling in part because of his antics on Twitter. Constantly sharing silly poses and selfies with friends, Sir Patrick Stewart has amassed well over a million followers on Twitter. Not bad for an English gentleman born in 1940. 

      “[Twitter] has really taken us [Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell] by surprise to what extent people have enjoyed it. I get a great deal of satisfaction from using it for societal issues and concerns that I am involved with, but there’s also been this element of playfulness, which has opened up a new avenue of communication, which I am enjoying very much indeed.”

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        Stay Humble

        Similar to his humorous take on himself, Patrick is quick to downplay his accomplishments. Where other stars might be tempted to blame their success on pure talent, Patrick Stewart keeps his cool. “I wasn’t campaigning for a role in a Hollywood television series,” he shares, “it was a fluke. So you’ve got to have a measure of good luck, you really have, being in the right place at the right time.”

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          Even when the topic is his role in sprawling franchises, Patrick sidesteps the attention: “The studio have always claimed that the ship is the star of [Star Trek], especially when they’re renegotiating contracts.” Patrick is also quick to joke about his acting skills: “I don’t do impersonations. I can do a wounded elephant! I can do a really good cow! And because of the amount of time I spent in North Yorkshire, I do a variety of sheep. All of which I will be happy to roll out for you!”. 

          Patrick Stewart is happy to discuss his talent in a modest way: “[ X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner] showed me the first comic book and there was this bald guy in a wheelchair. I could see why she might have been interested in me.”

          Seek New Experiences

          Sir Patrick Stewart extends to his love of new things to life decisions as well, and is willing to taking risks. Many entertainers from outside the US have negative views of Hollywood’s hyper perfect culture, but Patrick Stewart didn’t let prejudice play a part in his life, saying: “I think I came back from America a funnier and nicer person than I went.”

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            Patrick also encourages an open, excited attitude for others: “If someone says ‘Give me one word of advice,’ I say ‘be fearless.’ And knowing without any shadow of a doubt that what they have to give—who they are—is totally unique and not shared by anybody else. And to believe in that uniqueness. It took me decades before I developed courage as an actor.”

            Always Keep Learning

            One would think that an actor as accomplished as Sir Patrick Stewart has nothing to fear. Despite his impressive acting resume, Patrick continues to push himself in his craft.

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            “I really, really don’t want to hit one of those walls and I really don’t want to finish last. This makes me more nervous than anything I’ve ever done.” Inspiring words when you consider how hard Patrick has studied acting, in theater as well as film.

            Use Your Adversity

            Patrick Stewart is pretty open about his background, including his difficult childhood. While growing up, Patrick Stewart witnessed constant domestic abuse. At the hands of his father, Patrick’s mother was frequently beaten and battered. Once saying “I never had teenage years. I guess because I was seen to be more adult than anybody around me”, his childhood was filled with heartache and difficulty. 

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              “I was brought up in a very poor and very violent household. I spent much of my childhood being afraid”, he also shared. Despite the troubles, and despite overcoming severely difficult circumstances to achieve stardom, Patrick doesn’t let his past control him. Quite the opposite, Patrick works constantly with Refuge, a UK organization focused on providing safety for victims of domestic abuse. He’s also quick to speak up for others, and offer support. 

              Work For A Cause

              Magnifying his involvement with charitable organizations, Patrick actively encourages each of us to also speak up for those who can’t. “It is what you do from now on that will either move our civilization forward a few tiny steps, or else… begin to march us steadily backward”, he has said.

              Even when the topic is Star Trek-esque space travel, Patrick jumps to encourage social growth: “I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets, even though they may be utterly uninhabited.”

              Preferring to use his celebrity for those who need a voice, Patrick once shared “[I’ve] been given a voice that I didn’t know was available to me, and it was to speak seriously and with a proper level of involvement on issues of inequality and unfairness.” 

              Never content to sit idly by, Patrick Stewart is a true champion of social causes. “I’ve always believed that it is not possible to be in the world and not be political.”

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                Nurture Friendships

                Patrick Stewart is also well known for his famous friendships. In an industry where back biting and harmful feuds pop up daily, it’s completely refreshing to see a celebrity treat people with respect. Patrick has been friends with Ian McKellen since they met in the 60’s, performing with The Royal Shakespeare Company. Additionally, Patrick and Helen Mirren worked together on the 1981 Excalibur film, and remain friends to this day.

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                    “I’ve met actors where you think, if only you could just clean up your act and get it together, people would want to work with you. Some people are so difficult, it’s just not worth working with them.”

                    Consider Others Perspectives

                    Patrick’s difficult childhood would be enough to make anyone hate their father. Confounding human nature once again, Patrick sees his father’s flawed life with empathy. When Patrick participated in a recent documentary program for the BBC, he learned that his father suffered severe PTSD from WWII. At the time, even more misunderstood than it is now, PTSD had absolutely no treatment in the 40’s and 50’s. After learning of his fathers struggles, Patrick immediately began working with an organization in the UK for veterans, called Combat Stress. Again, quick to understand and slow to judge, Patrick Stewart is helping to eliminate violence and health problems on all fronts.

                    “Now I can do something for women and their children who [deal with domestic abuse]. One of the most gratifying things in my life is that, I would say daily, someone stops me in the street or at the stage door and will mention the work that I’ve done there.”

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                    Never Stop Laughing

                    If his incredible accomplishments, humble attitude and sprawling list of awards aren’t enough to make you love Sir Patrick Stewart, hopefully his humor does. In his mid 70’s, Patrick shows no sign of slowing down. Starring in a theatre production with Sir Ian Mckellan in 2013, Patrick continues to inspire us and make us laugh.

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                      Proof that there’s no reason to stop spreading joy, Patrick Stewarts silly pictures and quick wit will undoubtedly keep us smiling (and learning) for years to come.

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                        And finally, great respect on how Sir Patrick Stewart took ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…

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                        Featured photo credit: Gage Skidmore via en.wikipedia.org

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                        Alicia Prince

                        A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on November 4, 2020

                        15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

                        15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

                        Self-improvement doesn’t have to be big mind-blowing changes; it can actually be simple steps to improve upon what you already have to get you where you want to be.  However, what you will need is consistency, determination and wiliness to try some things that will stretch and challenge you.

                        Rather than setting your sights way off into the future, which leaves you feeling like you’ll never make it, you can start following these simple and effective self-improvement steps today.  So if you want to make an immediate impact on your life and are willing to take action, then keep reading— you’ll going to love these!

                        1. Be willing to work hard.

                        As with anything in life, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard to get it.  This doesn’t mean you burn the candle at both ends, leaving you exhausted and leaving your personal life in ruins.  It merely means that when you want something badly enough, you’ll put in the time to get there.  Action is what’s important here and the more ‘inspired’ the action is, the better the results in the end.

                        2. Make sure you have friends who you can talk to.

                        Sharing the load is important as with any self-improvement. If you can communicate with others and get feedback on how you are doing then that’s great.  We all need ‘cheerleaders’ in our corner to keep us going when times get hard, but you also need to have people who will tell you how it is even when you don’t want to hear it.  So make sure you have a good support network around you, especially those people whose opinions you respect.

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                        3. Adapt to your circumstances rather than over-thinking them.

                        Sometimes, we can hit a hard period. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your partner has left you.  Instead of over analyzing the situation, learn to adapt to your circumstances and accept them as they are.  It’s not about making your circumstances into some kind of a drama; remember, what you focus on expands which means you’ll get more of it.  You then don’t become your problems and you’ll feel a lot less burdened by them.

                        4. Ensure that you use your time wisely.

                        Time is of the essence, some might say; whilst others will say that time is an illusion.  One thing we do know is that you have one life on this planet, so how you use that time is of the utmost importance.  So how can you use your time wisely? Only you know how to do that, but look at how you currently spend your days: do you sit working all day, get home, eat and then sit slumped in front of the TV for the rest of the evening?  Your time on this earth is precious, so isn’t it time to make use of the time you have left? Try something new, go for a walk, learn a new language or meditate but make sure it’s something you absolutely love.

                        5. Always be consistent.

                        A wonderful way to self-improvement is to make changes to how you do things.  For example, with your friends, are you always the unreliable one who bows out of an arrangement just before it happens? Or are you someone who starts a new exercise routine and then stops doing it 3 weeks into it?  Whatever it is and whatever you do, always be consistent. When you make a commitment, stick to it. It will improve your life immeasurably you’ll feel more confident and happier with yourself, especially because you’ll know that whatever you tackle, you’ll be able to consistently do it!

                        6. Go and find your happy place.

                        No, I’m not saying “place” as in popping to your local bar or restaurant and gorging yourself on your favorite drinks or food. What I’m saying is to find out what you love to do, what makes you happy and go there.  Your happy place is a place where you find peace, where you lose yourself and feel contented.  Meditation is a great way to find your happy place; it brings you back to you and ensures that you are always living in the present moment.

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                        7. Make sure you embrace all your emotions.

                        In life you are going to find that it throws you some difficult challenges, sometimes it will bring out your fears and lead you into uncertainty, and other times it will be joyful.  It’s important to embrace all emotions that come up in your life, embrace them wholeheartedly and understand why they are there and then let them go.  Try not to dismiss or resist them because remember “what you resist, persists,” so embrace them each and every time.

                        8. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

                        The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone for some people can leave you paralyzed with fear; however for any changing in your life, your comfort zone will always have to be stepped out of.  It doesn’t have to be something big, like doing a sky-dive or something just as crazy. However, it’s worthwhile to change something that you’d once have feared, like going to the cinema on your own or eating at a sushi restaurant when the thought of trying raw fish which would normally mean you running for the hills.

                        So try something new—it doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to challenge you!

                        9. Be on hand to help others.

                        Whether it’s helping a stranger on the street or a family member or a friend helping someone else either in their time of need, lending a helping hand is a wonderful and simple self-improvement to make.  Giving to others is not only beneficial to those you are helping but also to yourself; it can give you a sense of purpose, of contribution and also takes your mind of your own troubles and worries.

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                        10. Live in the present moment.

                        A wonderful self-improvement tool is to live in the present moment, to live in the now.  It is within this moment that you’ll appreciate all that you have and see the beauty in the simplest of things.  Being mindful of your current circumstances and bringing your mind back to where it belongs will bring about a happier way of life instead of constant worry or stressing about the past or future—both of which do not exist. Only the present moment exists. When you get used to living that way, you’ll never want to go back!

                        11. Learn something new.

                        There is nothing so liberating as learning something new; it can lift both your confidence and self-esteem and give you a great reason to meet new people.  If you continually top up your brain activity by learning something new all the time, you’ll feel on top of your game and want to share the knowledge you have learned. There is nothing quite so empowering as learning a new tool in life that can either improve your circle of friends or raise confidence levels—or both!

                        Reading is also a great way to help you learn something new:

                        12. Exercise daily.

                        This seems an obvious one, but exercise is so important not only to your health but also to your spirit.  We all know that after exercise, the world can feel a brighter and more positive place, so why don’t we do it more often?  Exercise isn’t about getting the perfect body or losing weight; it’s more about feeling good inside and out!  With a healthy body comes a healthy mind—so start something today. Even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s better than staying on that couch, again.

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                        13. Go to new places, travel a bit.

                        I’m not saying go fly off to some far away distant forgotten land—although you can if you so wish. It’s more about going to new places and experiencing life outside of your own back yard.  Too many of us stay in one place too often. We only see the same people, the same streets and do the same things each and every day.  If you want to improve your life, get out there and see the world and what it can offer.  You can start by going to a town or city you’ve never been to in your own country and checking out the architecture, the landscapes and the people.  Anything new is good, so get out there!

                        14. Listen to uplifting music and dance.

                        If there’s one thing that can really improve your life and get you excited about it, it’s listening to great uplifting music and dancing.  When was the last time you really let go?  Let it all hang loose and got into a piece of music and let yourself go?  Dancing, like exercise, makes you feel great. It releases all kinds of emotions and can make you feel unbelievably good.  Self-improvement isn’t all about the serious stuff; it can be something as simple as finding new music, music that inspires you and makes you dance and have fun!

                        15. Get up earlier than normal.

                        This is the last one, and it’s last because it’s one of those self-improvement tips that we all know is a good thing, yet we seem to avoid it at all costs!  If you think about it, the earliest part of the day is when your brain is most active because it’s been turned off for the last 7 hours or so.  So don’t you think it’s best to get all those things above done in the morning?  Things like exercise, meditation and dancing, which can all be done in the first part of the day.  Take it from me: this early morning stuff can really get your day started with a bang!

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                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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