Gregory Sims

The Beginning Of Practical Goal Setting Technique

In 2001 I was making a solid living as a professional actor in New York City – an accomplishment of no small means. Yet the work I was engaged with many times felt unfulfilling, and my spirit, my drive, more than not, seemed doused with a curious combination of numbness and longing. The work I procured as an actor often had the “fall into your lap” quality; a result of certain healthy yet unconscious habits that appeared on the surface of my life as instinctual movement. The ability to work creatively with opportunity and obstacle, to liberate myself from a looping neurotic rut, to, as Thoreau said, “move confidently in the direction of one’s dreams”, this all seemed beyond the scope and scale of anything I might be possible of acquiring. At the same time I was awash with emotionalism and unfettered hedonistic impulse. My solution for the muck of ennui and self-pity in which I had become mired was to hurl myself at cheap thrills that were masquerading as divine epiphany. Life had become a slog of fear and stagnation.

In the fall of that year I bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul. I decided I would spend a few months traveling the Middle East with the dual purpose of finishing a play that I had been writing and seeking adventures to rouse my languid soul. The “adventures” turned out to be merely a slightly more exotic version of the hollow intoxication I’d been pursuing in New York, and the writing became a self-hating grind – each day I’d pick up the pen and wield it like a scalpel in vain attempts to perform some sort of psychic autopsy on myself. I wanted proof of my brilliance to bleed out onto the page. I thought if I could demonstrate some modicum of “greatness” I would be catapulted into a new level of existence – a land of bliss and comfort where the demons of struggle and toil had been forever vanquished. Doing good work for the sake of good work, or needing obstacle in order to build character – these ideas were foreign and remote. I thought my confusion, neurosis and ambiguous emotional state made me less than human, and if I entered a zone of heightened euphoria I believed I was finally experiencing “normal” humanity. In hindsight, I now understand that I was attempting the impossible task of escaping the human condition. Confusion, neurosis and ambiguous emotion are the building blocks of humanity, and my futile attempts at some inner pristine clarity, was nothing more than tilting at windmills.

Acceptance And Surrender

My indulgent dance with fantasy was forever altered that September. There I was roaming the world, playing out some twisted version of a romantic wastrel, and, in the city I called home, hundreds of innocent lives were destroyed in a senseless tragedy. It seemed to me the very fact that I was alive meant I had a responsibility to move towards truly growing up and contributing something of substance to the world in which I lived.

I returned home and soon sought aid in coming to terms with the crippling addictions that had plagued me since adolescence.

Through the generous help of others who had overcome compulsions similar to my own, I soon found a path toward physical sobriety. The key to this path was an intrinsically linked combination of Acceptance and Surrender, i.e. – discovering what is in my power and what is not in my power. The key itself had been forged in the fires of my own suffering, or, to put it more precisely, forged in a new understanding and new relationship with that suffering. Eventually, I felt called to re-address my career and skills as a professional actor with this deeper yet fledgling experiential understanding on the nature of power. I began to ask myself – “What am I truly pursuing? – Do I even know? What are the skills necessary to building an artistic career of substance?” – Do I possess these skills, and if not how might I acquire them? How does my calling to be a professional actor relate to the larger principles of my life?” Engaging with questions such as these were the seeds of PGST.

An Organic Path

Looking back, the technique developed in a very natural and fluid manner. It was an Organic Path that revealed itself to me in direct proportion to the amount of bold yet gentle Simple, Practical, Daily Action I was willing to take. Through this daily process of surrender to action through action, I began to get honest with myself about certain forms of confusion I had in regard to my work as an actor. The acceptance of this confusion led to my teaching and forming my own acting studio. Out of the acting studio a theater company was formed. My acting career began to flourish; I would eventually land a lead role on a national television show, which in turn lead to my relocating to California*. When I began to form my acting studio in Los Angeles I had a strong sense that the Goal Setting technique I developed could be used in class and of great service to the developing actor. This assumption proved correct and soon I was working in one-on-one sessions with my acting students. Work with writers, producers, CEO’s, musicians, homemakers, individuals from all walks of life soon followed. The technique and my skills at helping to awaken and inspire my clients continue to expand. PGST has become one of the great passions of my life.