So you have a dream. A dream people tell you is unlikely to come true, BUT it is a dream some people make a living doing — maybe a really good living. So, there’s only really one question left — how much do you want it?
There’s Always Room at the Top
I was talking to a friend about their college degree and what they were going to do with it. He said, “I like writing screenplays, but everybody’s writing screenplays,” and the words out of my mouth, before I even thought, were, “Then why don’t you write a better one than their’s?”. I meant it honestly. You can be the best — it’s just really hard. The good news is most people can’t be that bothered to work really hard, even if they’re getting paid for it.
FIVE RULES FOR BEING THE BEST
Find the one thing you love doing more than anything else in the world. This is really key. You can’t ‘kind of like it’, or dislike it but think it’s a good way to make money and have it work out. You can do it as a job, but you’ll absolutely never be the best at it. The good news is the thing you were made to do is out there. Just keep looking for it. Remember — ‘You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail.’ ~ Buffy St. Marie.
Make sure it’s something you want to do every day and night for as long as you live. If you can’t stop doing it, thinking about it, or returning to it again and again, you will make it.
Hard work is the ticket to everywhere you want to be. Now a lot of people have lost the idea that hard work can be a joy. From our schools to a lot of our jobs, hating hard work is now a national pastime. But it’s a pastime you don’t want in your life. Step away from talking about work in those ways. Instead remember the times work was a joy — spending all day building a fort as a kid, helping your own child with a scrapbook, or building a Habitat House. Reclaim hard work as the key to every door you want to walk through and every dream you have. And, when you come to terms with hard work as the price of greatness, a funny thing will happen — once you stop complaining about it, you’ll find it’s not really that hard after all.
Help other people, or at least, don’t hurt them. Helping others succeed is one of the best ways to find success yourself, but it’s not mandatory. What is mandatory in my book is not fucking with other people’s dreams, hopes, and happiness. Every minute you spend putting down people (even those you don’t know and will never meet) is a minute you aren’t helping yourself become a better person, a better artist. Like with hard work, break the cycle of talking about others in a negative way. The world is filled with joy and abundance, but a lot of your success is contingent on you meeting the world with a positive, happy heart. Don’t waste your precious time on haters, or being a hater.
Be only satisfied with your ABSOLUTE best work. Compare yourself to the all-time greats — Gandhi, da Vinci, Fitzgerald. Whatever you’re doing, never settle for good enough. In fact, the words ‘good enough’ should make you want to puke. A real mistake people make is to look at the lowest rung of anything and think, ‘If I could do that, I could make it.’ Now, if that inspires you to start, great, but what you really want is to WAY overshoot that. My goal would be to have one of the top 5% best-written books of the year my novel comes out, really more like best 2%. Audacious? Sure. But believe you me, it definitely keeps me out of the bottom 2%.
In the end, luck will play a role in any success. But deep, soulful love of what you do and a willingness to work hard to rise up to the top of your powers in the thing you were born to do plays a much greater role. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and be the best! I know you’ve got it in you.