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Psychological Components of Success


For many years, numerous studies -most of which originate from the field of sports psychology- have shown that certain psychological components play a significant role in distinguishing high-performing individuals from those with average performance. The elements identified in a comprehensive study by Orlick & Partington in 1988 have repeatedly surfaced in various studies. Below is a summary compiled from research conducted by Abbott and his team in 2007. Each point is worth further exploration.



Commitment (to the Process)

  • Arrives early for work, training, class, or rehearsal.

  • Actively participates during work or practice.

  • Can work independently, separate from the rest of the team or friends.

  • Prepares before the work or practice.

  • Balances work and rest periods appropriately and according to need.

  • Resilient against setbacks during development and learning.

Focus and Control of Distraction

  • Maintains focus even in the presence of distractions.

  • Remains composed under pressure.

  • Knows what might distract their attention and takes steps to prevent it.

  • Follows a consistent pre-performance routine or ritual.

  • Redirects focus from the opponent to their own performance in competitive situations.

  • Can regain focus when distracted.

Mental Imagery (Visualization)

  • Uses visualization to acquire new skills, learn, and for additional practice.

  • Utilizes imagery to cope with challenging situations and negative emotions.

  • Prepares mentally for performance.

  • Possesses effective, vivid, multi-sensory imagery with a high degree of control.

Realistic Performance Appraisal

  • Has a detailed understanding of what they do well, their strengths, and areas that need improvement.

  • Can assess their performance realistically, regardless of external feedback.

  • Defines success and failure appropriately (success is continuous improvement).

Effective Practice (Rehearsal)

  • Provides an effective learning experience during practice, training, or lessons.

  • Can understand and contextualize what they are doing and learning (knows why they are doing it, understands where their effort fits into the bigger picture).

  • Tracks personal development during practice.

  • Asks questions and actively engages with an open mind during practice.

Goal Setting

  • Can set short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals, both for training/rehearsal and performance.

  • Sets separate goals for both training/practice and performance.

  • Defines performance goals that inspire and motivate (detailed and clear definitions of success, a strong understanding of what they want to achieve).

  • Sets realistic, attainable goals alongside never-ending goals (e.g., winning an Oscar someday and also pioneering a completely different acting style).

Handling Pressure and Stress

  • Responds positively to time pressure, competition, performance anxiety, and other similar situations.

  • Preserves self-confidence and self-belief under pressure.

  • Focuses on giving their best under competitive situations (focuses on outperforming themselves rather than the opponent).

  • Maintains focus, self-confidence, and rhythm even after making a mistake or receiving criticism.

Planning and Organizational Skills

  • Arrives early for practices.

  • Completes performance preparations as planned.

  • Takes care of their personal life and can balance the needs of the performance area and personal life (allocates time for themselves, socializes, and enjoys life, etc.).

  • Can determine and adjust priorities effectively.

  • Can effectively plan the preparation process for competition.

High Self-Awareness

  • Recognizes, understands, and knows how to cope with their emotions, including managing negatives.

  • Understands how they react in various situations.

  • Is aware of the psychological burdens associated with the current phase they are in.

  • Is aware of past experiences and vulnerabilities.

  • ...

These psychological elements often contribute to the success of individuals in various fields, including acting. By incorporating these elements into your own personal and professional development, you can enhance your performance and reach your goals in the acting world.


This article was originally written in 2011 by Filiz Kaya Ataklı and publishes in various platforms.

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