Actor and social media influencer Josh Peck explains why happy people are boring and more

Part of Kathy Caprino’s “Creativity At Work” series

Josh Peck has established himself as one of Hollywood’s rising talents, making the transition from child actor to leading man and social media influencer. Best known for his role in the Nickelodeon Phenomenon Drake and Josh (2004-2007), for which he received a Kids’ Choice nomination, Peck starred in feature films such as middle stream alongside Rory Culkin (2004), madness alongside Ben Kingsley (2008), Red Dawn alongside Chris Hemsworth (2012), Danny Collins with Al Pacino, Annette Benning and Jennifer Garner (2016), Take the 10 with Andy Samberg and Fred Armisen (2017) and Netflix Musical comedy, starring Debra Messing, which will be released later this year. In 2023, Josh will co-star in Christopher Nolan’s new film, Oppenheimer.

Currently, Peck is featured in Disney Plus’ Turner and Hooch series, a continuation of the 1989 Tom Hanks film of the same name, and stars from the highly anticipated Hulu series, how i met your fatherand in the iCarly Restart on Paramount+.

With 32.8 million fans across numerous social media platforms, Peck has successfully tapped into his talents as an actor, podcaster and more, and is the author of the new memoir happy people are boringreleased in bookstores on March 15. Her book is a heartfelt memoir sharing Peck’s thoughts on the many stumbles and silver linings of her life and charts a zigzag path to redemption.

I caught up with Peck this month in an eye-opening and thought-provoking discussion.

Kathy Caprino: Josh, why did you write happy people are boring now?

Josh Peck: I felt like my life was at this inflection point. I had spent over twenty years working in this profession which I thought defined me. I started when I was 10, so I literally thought that was my identity. I had never been anything more than an active actor. But in those twenty years I also lost 100 pounds, got sober from drugs and alcohol, started a whole new career in social media when showbiz blocked me . I got married, had a child, and faced my way of seeing happiness.

Caprino: I want to know why you chose this book title? Do you find happy people actually boring, or do you agree that the pursuit of happiness may not be the best goal in life?

Peck: I find people who have a happiness defect, all the same, a little annoying. But, truth be told, I think happiness is overrated. What I was lucky enough to find was contentment. As sure as bad times come, so do good times, and they will dance in and out of your life until the end of time. The universe demands a balance. Too much sun causes a desert.

Caprino: You share a lot of personal wisdom and revelations in your book. What do you think is your best professional advice?

Peck: I wrote this book at 35 instead of 65, because I wanted people my age and younger to hear it from someone who had just read it. Beware of people who freely give advice on things they know nothing about. I know it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to follow the advice of someone who’s perpetually single.

Imitate the people whose life you want. If you respect someone’s family, career, emotional maturity, ask for advice. I like to get advice from people a little higher up the rock face, not at the top. They have good information like “Use this plug, it’s safe. I just used it an hour ago, and it felt good.”

Caprino: If you could go back to the child record Drake and Joshwhat nuggets of wisdom would you give him?

Peck: Maybe dismiss the latter? I don’t know if I would give him any advice because the truth is that I don’t know if I would be able to hear him. I was in survival mode, doing my best to struggle with being this public person when I was insecure in my own skin. I loved the work I was doing but not much more. It is said that the teacher reveals himself when the pupil is ready. But I was not ready. If I had to say anything, I would tell him he’s awesome and he doesn’t have to be so hard on himself.

Caprino: Why do you like to oscillate between actor and social media personality?

Peck: Because there is no longer a separation between traditional actors and social media personalities. It’s an offer. One begets the other. Social media is just one tool, and back when I embraced it, few people felt comfortable going from traditional to social. I’m not a prophet; I was helped by the fact that I didn’t have much to lose, and job insecurity is a big motivator.

In addition, I like to create, to make stuff, regardless of the medium. I’ll fit in whether it’s an iPhone or a quarter million dollar camera. I just want it to be good.

Caprino: What do you think is the hardest experience you’ve had in your entertainment career, and what has it taught you about adaptability?

Peck: I spent almost three years without work. I did a few guest spots here and there, but for the most part it felt like all the work I had done – all the goodwill I had accumulated over the years – was gone. the. It was an ego death.

Any illusions I had about who I was or where I thought I was supposed to be at 30 had to be let go. But, throughout that time, I was working harder than ever at that other career, building my social media, podcasting, and speaking business. I haven’t let lack of success in one area stop me from being resourceful in other areas.

When I interviewed Robert Greene for my podcast, he told me, “Everything you do is a byproduct of acting. It’s not like you make a living as an accountant. The ability to create content, to be compelling in a podcast or whatever form, all of that is cultivated from years of performing. You just embraced a different way of expressing your skills. Sometimes we We just have to find another way to express our skills.

Caprino: What are the most effective strategies for building relationships with the public on all the different social media?

Peck: Be honest. Steve Jobs said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Of course, Walmart’s approach has always been. “We let our customers tell us what they want, and then we give it to them.”

In social, you kind of have to do both. You have to be aware of the landscape. You need to be aware of trends, of what’s hitting. But inevitably, if you try to do something that will please the greatest number, it will not please anyone. It must be funny for you, it must move you, make you cry, make you think. It must be something you would like to watch. You are the group chat. You are the test audience.

I’ve been victimized so many times to do something I hoped was relevant and as a result I felt hollow and sweaty. It’s always the videos that really make me laugh that really work.

Caprino: In your book, you describe yourself and your single mother as a “junkyard start-up.” How has this perspective jump-started your social media business?

Peck: Growing up with a single mom meant nothing was promised. We were constantly adapting, pivoting, restructuring. It took herculean strength and confidence to be not only a single mom but also a businesswoman in what was a man’s world at the time, so I watched my mom fight for every inch. .

Likewise, in entrepreneurship, I never felt like anything was promised. The discomfort was with me. I watched peers take action when things weren’t working out, cursing the gods instead of bowing their heads and taking the opportunity to step them one step closer.

Caprino: How has diversifying your sources of income opened you up to more financial success and freedom?

Peck: For much of my life, I was beholden to only one way of making money. A string of casting directors, producers, studio executives and directors all had to agree for me to finally check it out. When I started making money from social media, I used it as a tool to free myself as an artist. I never stopped performing, I never stopped auditioning. In fact, at the height of my success, I went back to acting class and dubbed the thing I loved the most.

But now, when I get to the auditions, I have an ace in my pocket. The awareness that I would be fine whether I booked it or not. It was powerful, something that had eluded me all my life, and I think it’s appealing to the people making the decisions.

Caprino: Any final words on how to stay motivated to work in volatile industries?

Peck: Labor is the gift. The miracle is the attempt. As long as you are reminded—and I have to remind myself often—the rest tends to disappear. It’s not about the result. There is no result, not really.

When I interviewed Neal Brennan for my podcast, he said, “You’ll probably get everything you ever wanted, just not the way you expected.” He then thought for a moment and said, “Actually, you’ll probably get everything you’ve ever wanted but, by the time you get it, you won’t want it.”

For more information, visit happy people are boring.

Kathy Caprino is a career and leadership coach, authorspeaker and podcast host helping professionals build rewarding and impactful careers.