The Thrive Questionnaire With Harry Hamlin

The actor and entrepreneur opens up about his favorite pastime, his love-hate relationship with his phone, and how he handled burnout when starting out in Hollywood.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Harry Hamlin is an American actor, author, and entrepreneur. He has has four Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and one Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actor for his role as Jim Cutler in “Mad Men.” He is the co-founder of TAE Technologies, the world’s leading privately funded aneutronic fusion energy research facility.

In his Thrive Questionnaire, he opens up about his favorite pastime, his love-hate relationship with his phone, and how he handled burnout when starting out in Hollywood.

TG: What gives you energy?

HH: The wonder of it all.

TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?

HH: Drinking lots of water!

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

HH: Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse. I read it when I was 17.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 

HH:  I have a love-hate relationship with my phone, which would be better if it was just a phone, but it’s not just a phone. The non-phone part makes this giant sucking sound that I try to drown out. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, especially for my wife and kids who were sucked into that rabbit hole years ago! I sleep with my wife, not my phone.

TG: How do you deal with email?

HH: According to the icon on my iPhone, I have 80,337 unread messages. So, not very well. 

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

HH: I play the guitar! 

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

HH: The last time I felt really burned out was May, 1987 after the first season of the TV show “LA Law.” We really wanted to make it a great show and I was number one on the call sheet, which meant I had the longest hours that season. I worked 15-hour days Monday through Thursday, and 18-20 on “fraterday.” After nine months of that, I was definitely burned out! We won the Emmy for Best Drama that year — but I don’t do that stuff anymore.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

HH: The last time I really felt I failed was the summer of 1992 when my second marriage fell apart. It was horrible. I reached out to Marianne Williamson and she turned me on to A Course in Miracles and I did it… Twice. That lead me to Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Depak Chopra, Alice Miller, Scott Peck, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Andrew Weil, Gary Zukav, Earnest Holmes, Ken Wilbur, and Eckhart Tolle, to name a few of the smart people who actually get it.  I feel a lot better now!

TG: Share a mantra that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

HH: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” — Hamlet by Shakespeare.

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