WELLNESS
01/23/2015 08:01 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2015

How An Enormous Failure On Broadway Changed Rainn Wilson's Life

TV fans know Rainn Wilson as the eccentric paper salesman Dwight Schrute from "The Office," but before he found that level of fame, he faced devastating failure -- and it made all the difference.

Wilson spoke with HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri on Wednesday about his new Fox series "Backstrom," and during the conversation he shared how a misstep can transform into an opportunity for success.

"Always in the human experience, we find that some of the most difficult things that we've ever gone through -- the biggest tests or challenges that we're ever given as human beings -- actually are doorways to a new level of growth and new possibilities," Wilson said.

He detailed his own excruciating experience that became a turning point in his life, which happened when he was performing in the play "London Assurance."

"I was terrible in it. I was bad," Wilson said. "Oh my God, I stunk. I was so distraught, and I would be weeping in the middle of the night, calling my wife, and it was one of the hardest experiences I went through, to show up every day to a Broadway play knowing you suck."

Even after working with the director to right his performance, Wilson said he "just couldn't get it." But failing so spectacularly on such a significant stage turned into a breakthrough -- and as a result he explained he found "a whole new way of being":

After that, something broke. Something cracked. I fired my agents, I had no agents at the time, and I was just like, screw this, I'm not gonna be that kind of actor anymore. I've got to be me. I have to find my own truth, my way to just be odd and ungainly and weird and bring who I am through my characters. I don't need to try to be anything to impress anyone else or try and make people like me.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Rainn Wilson here.

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