Become the CEO of happiness.
 Photo: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
Life has a way of forcing you to make decisions about what you believe. I have found that life, death and miraculous events have shaped and smoothed my beliefs like constant water over stone. I consider myself to be a spiritual person. I believe my life is the perfect example that there must be a power greater than ourselves. Otherwise how did I get all the way to where I am now? People often ask me how I became a successful actor. My answer is always, "I really don't know." One minute I was a nine-year-old sitting on the front steps of my parents' house in Wisconsin, looking at my rock collection, thinking I would be an archaeologist when I grew up, and the next thing I knew I was living in Hollywood and acting in a movie with Robert De Niro.

After a great deal of thought and life experience I've come to believe that this power that is greater than ourselves is in charge and I choose to call that power God. Now, it doesn't matter whether you believe in God or Buddha or Jehovah or for that matter the half-yearly white sale at Macy's. That's all up to you. For the purpose of this story I think you need to know that I believe in a Great and Mysterious Deity that Rules the World, Knows All and Oversees Our Destiny, and I call It God.

When I was young I was entertained and comforted by my daydreaming and make-believe games. I was born with the gift of a very vivid imagination. But as I got older my imagination became something that I could use to torture myself with. If I had a headache I was afraid it was a brain tumor; if I sneezed I was certain it was pneumonia; if my elbow hurt, of course it was elbow cancer. Even if I felt happy that must mean soon all hell was about to break loose and I would lose my job, contract a horribly disfiguring disease or be kidnapped by angry rebels, who would not release me until their demands were met to have their handsome and charismatic leader set free. This last scenario was particularly imaginative as I was not employed, as you might think, at the United Nations but was working as a receptionist for a wig company.

After I moved to Los Angeles I began working with an agency as a temporary secretary and taking any job they sent me on, as I was always on the thin edge of broke. About this time I had taken up daily power walking in my neighborhood. It wasn't so much about exercising as it was about trying to outwalk the problems that were all vying for attention in my head. I wasn't making any money as an actor and it didn't look as if I would any day soon. Also, my mother's health was not good, so I was worried I was going to have to abandon all of my plans to be an actor to go back to Wisconsin and care for her. I was overwhelmed by worry and felt hopeless about being able to find solutions to my problems.