What Does Patrick Stewart Say Before Walking Onstage That “Takes Away Anxiety and Stress and Worry”?

When it comes to the best acting advice he ever received, Patrick Stewart admits that it took him decades to fully understand it.

In addition to starring in television and film as beloved characters Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Xavier, Patrick Stewart is a renowned stage performer on both sides of the Atlantic as an Olivier Award-winner and a Tony Award-nominee.

But when it comes to the best acting advice he ever received, he admits to Rolling Stone that it took him decades to fully understand it — and it has resulted in Stewart repeating a vulgar phrase to himself before going on stage every night!

Recalling how he came up with his f-word mantra, Stewart revealed:

In terms of the work that I do, Duncan Ross, a brilliant, brilliant acting teacher, gave me quite a stern talking to. He said, “Patrick, the most important thing you have to understand is that you will never achieve success by ensuring against failure.” I thought I understood what he meant, I thought I got it: “Yes, yes, you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to be brave, you’ve got to gamble.” It was more than 30 years of being an actor before I really internally understood what he meant. Now, it’s become a habit of mine, before I make an entrance onstage every night, to say out loud but quietly, “I don’t give a f*ck!” And I go work. And it works! It takes away anxiety and stress and worry, and all of those stupid wasteful things that don’t help you at all.

More: Patrick Stewart on Returning to Picard and the Challenge He Faced When the Original Series Ended

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