I was on Hollywood Boulevard. It was raining and then it started to rain harder and harder. My fingertips were as cold as Antarctica, my lips were shaking like a Strippers A&$ who’s rent is due tomorrow and my face was as red as Supermans awesome skin tight leggings. I was in a city and not one soul knew my name. If In died that night nobody would really know. There was a sense of being completely alone and I hated it!
Then an idea ran through my head that has haunted me ever sense. “I want to be become an actor and be on Good Morning f&$&king America just so I can tell this story.” To not be known in the world blows!
I was 20 years old with this awesome pinky and the brain plan to work for a few months, save up money, and move out to LA to pursue my dream.
I’m unlikely to be the first to have this idea. Like many 18, 19, 20, and 21 year olds we have this “shiniest ball syndrome.” We chase the shiniest ball in the room and believe that is the thing we’re “meant” to do.
Definition of Shiniest Ball: The last movie you saw makes you want to stop everything and be an Actor. The last song you heard makes you want to quit everything to become a full time singer. The last piece of Art that moved you makes you want to quit your full time job to become a full time artist. Maybe it’s the last time you were at the gym and finally that workout made you “feel good” so now you believe that you’re destined to become a personal trainer. All these little inspirations in your life add up to a head full of confusions and wanting to be a million things.
I’m an avid reader of self help books and blogs because- I’m deeply fascinated with psychology studies that are proven to strengthen habits and will power.
I follow Derek Sivers blog and in one of his his post he stated his blog with the following which will really get your brain fired up on all cylinders:
People with a well-paying jobs ask my advice because they want to quit to become full-time artists.
But full-time artists ask my advice because they’re finding it impossible to make money.
You see the conundrum right?
Back to my blog. Okay now you’re reading my words.
It made me think “well I don’t want to fall down that hole. I don’t want to be either of those people. Sure, it would be really effing fantastic to be at a well paying job but kill me inside knowing that I never pursued my ‘dream.’ But it would also kill me like literally ‘kill me’ because of starvation- but at least I was pursuing my so- called “art.” Right?!?!
In hindsight; I’m F$&king doomed either way.
UNLESS I dig deeper. Which is what I think we’re all after.
How about I redefine the definition of my success as an artist?
MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD BASICALLY WANT THE SAME THINGS.
I’ve discovered that from a broad perspective, people are basically the same. Everyone spends most of their time worrying about food, money, their job and their family — even people who are rich and well fed. Everyone wants to look cool and feel important — even people who are already cool and important.
Everyone is proud of where they come from. Everyone has insecurities and anxieties that plague them, regardless of how successful they are. Everybody is afraid of failure and looking stupid. Everyone loves their friends and family yet also gets the most irritated by them.
When I was cold as hell walking in the rain on Hollywood Boulevard I was fantasized by the idea that one day I would have the opportunity be able to tell Charlie Rose, look as cool as Tom Cruise in Risky Business, and also have tons of money to play pretend. Essentially my definition of happiness was: Get paid to play big kids “Cops and Robbers.”
But the sad truth is: The World doesn’t care about you. The world doesn’t care if you want to be Tom Cruise. The world doesn’t care if you want to be Jackson Pollack. The world doesn’t care if you want to be Elton John. The world doesn’t care if want to be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
So if the world doesn’t care then who does?
You- you have to care!
You can say “say F$&k you asshat. And pursue your dreams and risk being broke.”
You do what any sensible person does when they have a problem and solve it without F-bombs and yelling out and get a job that gives you a pay check every two weeks but sucks up your life 40 to 60 hours a week.
“The quality of your life is defined by the quality of the questions you ask.” – Tim Ferris
Ask yourself today “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.
Idiots may say: What do you love doing the most?
What makes you happiest?
Who are you inspired by?
Please I beg you don’t answer those questions.
Again: What pain do you want to sustain?
To become truly great at something, you have to dedicate your time and energy to it. And because we all have limited time and energy, few of us ever become truly exceptional at more than one thing, if anything at all.
There’s going to be days that suck as a writer, as an actor, as an artist, AND most likely there’s going to be days that suck as a Restaurant Manager, Teacher, Lawyer, or Gas station attendant. Which ever path you choose; just choose it.
We need to stop and define what success looks like to us.
It’s hard shitty times like when I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard tired, cold, walking in the rain wishing I could I was an actor on a TV Show that made me who I am today.
If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten thousand.
Don’t be ashamed if you don’t want that though. Don’t be ashamed if this skill isn’t going to make you famous. Don’t ever be ashamed. Just do something today that makes you like your future self.
To be Tom Cruise is gotta suck some days. Constantly being bombarded by Paparazzi. Always being pestered with “Hey Tom! Show me the money! Show me the money!”
Despite fantasizing about what it would be like to be a famous actor for over half of my life, the reality still has not came. It might never come. And it take me a long time and a lot of negative experiences to finally figure out why.
To have this problem in your life now is what defines your success.
At the end of the day it’s all about the kind of problems you choose to pick.
If you quit your dream to becoming a artist then you quit those types of problems that come along with it. Such as low pay. Wobbly ups and downs. And never feeling truly satisfied with the work that you did create.
If you don’t like those types of problems then be something that you’re vaguely interested in to bring home the bacon and do that dream on the side as a hobby.
A good life is not a life without problems. A good life is a life with good problems. And so, despite the turbulence of the rocky waves and twisting tides, I can sometimes stare into the heart of my confusion and the crossed strains of joy and sadness, and smiled be grateful that it’s all there.