When you’re pursuing a dream, I think it’s pretty safe to say you have to be optimistic. You have to believe there’s a chance you can succeed, otherwise why are you even trying? That’s what everyone says, anyway. In reality, though, it’s harder to be optimistic than it looks. You get hit with rejections, sometimes your creative mind decides to pack up and leave, and real life often creeps in and steals both your time and your energy. Sometimes it gets to the point where it’s all you can do not to curl up in the foetal position and rock back and forth chanting ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.’ I had one of those days this week (minus the chanting), and I had to go seeking inspiration to pull myself out of it. Luckily, I never have to look far. There is inspiration and beauty everywhere. The trick is to find something that inspires you to suck up your fears and your doubts and just go for it.
For me, the thing that inspires me the most (aside from the obvious) are the people who go all in. They do whatever is necessary in order to make their dreams a reality, even when fear, doubt and failure all come knocking at their door. I’ll admit to being more than a little jealous of the people with the courage to do that. It’s no small feat. Imagine all the fear, doubt, and insecurity. Imagine how much negativity you would be faced with from people who mean well – statistics about the success rate of people in the industry you are pursuing, horror stories about people never making it despite years of trying, grim glimpses into your future as a starving artist offering to write (paint, sing, dance) for food. I am truly amazed by all the people who find the courage to stand in the face in all of that and say, “You know what, I don’t care. I’m doing this.” I want to be one of those people. I’m getting there, slowly. But sometimes we all need a little push, so with that in mind, here are just a few people who inspire me to do whatever it takes to become the person I want to be:
For those of you who don’t know (and I’ll try not to be horrified), Kurt Cobain was the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter in the band Nirvana. Before Nirvana’s success, Kurt never had or wanted a ‘real’ job (that is, a job that could lead to a career) because he only wanted to make music. He worked in a series of low paid jobs and even lived in his car for a while because he couldn’t afford to pay rent. There’s something beautiful in that.
(Source: Kurt Cobain: The Journals. Side note – This a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. At first I thought it was disrespectful to read someone else’s journals, but he wanted them read. He said so in the journals.)
Much like Kurt Cobain, Eminem worked in a series of low paid jobs while trying to break into the music world. He struggled with poverty and personal issues, but he didn’t let anything deter him from pursuing his dreams even though practically everyone around him was continually telling him he would never amount to anything.
(Source: Various interviews and the movie 8 Mile, which is based on Eminem’s life. If you haven’t seen 8 Mile, you should. It’s right up there with Artifact on my inspirational films list [though let’s be honest, you can’t really compete with Artifact])
When he was young man, Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper Kanas City Star for not being creative enough. He then acquired an animation studio called ‘Laugh-O-Gram’ which he later drove into bankruptcy. Still he kept on trying and moved to Hollywood with his brother, where they created their own cartoon series, which was the beginning of you know, Walt Freaking Disney Studios.
(Source: Huff Post. Side note: I freaking LOVE Disney.)
We all know this story, but I’m going to ahead and include it anyway because I just love it. Harry Potter was rejected for ten years by multiple publishing houses before it was finally picked up by Bloomsbury. It is now the one of the most successful book series ever. Like ever, even more so than 50 Shades of
Fan Fiction Grey. If that’s not a reason to keep trying then I don’t know
(Source: Pretty much every article written about JK mentions this. Mischief Managed.)
Dallas Buyers Club (Written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack)
The script for Dallas Buyers Club was rejected 137 times over 20 years before it was finally picked up in 2012. It is now nominated for a total of SIX Academy Awards, and has won like a gazillion awards already. (And I do mean a gazillion. Certain members of the cast are winning awards almost every day at this point…/cough :p)
(Source: Los Angeles Times. Dare To Live.)
Oprah was fired from her first on-screen job as a reporter because she was told she wasn’t good enough to be on TV. But she kept pursuing her dream and is now, you know, OPRAH.
(Source: Business Insider.)
(I can see you your rolling your eyes from here. YES I’m going to write about the Mars boys. Again. Come on, now. Whose blog is this?)
Jared Leto. Again, we all know this story (and if you don’t, you haven’t been paying attention) but I’m going to include because, well, dreams = Jared in my mind. I can’t think of one without the other. Jared dropped out of high school, went to art school to become a painter (because he wanted to be a painter or a drug dealer, as you do), dropped out of that, went to film school to become a director, thought he’d have a better chance to become a director if he was an actor first, and now is Jared Freaking Leto: Rock God, Golden Globe Winner (SQUEE!!) and Academy Award Nominee (and let’s be honest…That Oscar already has his name on it.)
Despite proving himself again and again, he is STILL ridiculed for wanting to both act and make music (because apparently you shouldn’t be allowed to succeed in both), yet he ignores all the people who try to bring him down and does whatever his heart leads him to do (which includes acting, directing, making music and creating and owning four companies*). That’s admirable on a level that I cannot even begin to explain.
And then there was that time that Thirty Seconds To Mars got sued for $30 million dollars and he** fought it and won…But that’s another story. Seriously, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No-one inspires me like Jared Leto does. No-one.
(Source: My brain. My brain holds more Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds To Mars facts than is healthy.)
And he just won the Critic's Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor yesterday, too :3
Before Thirty Seconds To Mars, Shannon was working construction jobs, getting into trouble with the law, battling his personal demons and didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life. He saw music as his saving grace, and put his entire heart and soul into making it happen. He has said a number of times that without Mars, he would either be locked up or dead.
(Source: See above.)
Tomo had pretty much given up his dream of making music for a living, and had made plans to sell his gear because he didn’t want any reminders of his broken dream. The very next day he got the call to audition for Thirty Seconds To Mars, a band he already loved*** He was so certain he would get in the band that he bought a one way ticket to LA, then told Shannon and Jared that they should stop looking because he was going to be their new band member.
And now he is.
(Source: See above.)
These are just a few examples out of dozens of people I could write about. People who did whatever was necessary in order to be great. I want to be one of those people. I want to know that even if (when) I fail a hundred times, I will keep moving towards were I want to be. You don’t get want you wish for – you get what you work for. So on the days that the weight of what I want threatens to consume me – or consume you – let’s just take a deep breath, and remember we have the power to become anything and everything we’ve always wanted to be. Every single person you admire started somewhere. They aren’t special, or lucky, or blessed with the power to snap their fingers and make things happen: they worked for what they wanted. Granted, some people do seem to fall into success, but I’m not so interested in them. I like to hear about the people who want something so bad that they to whatever it takes to get it. Those are the people I admire. Those are the people I want to be like. Those are the people who give me the will to succeed. And I will succeed. I have to believe I will. After all, success is my only option; failure’s not.
TITLE LYRICS: ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem
(Apologies for swearing in the title, but you know, Eminem.)
**Yes I say ‘he’ because if you watch Artifact, you’ll see that Jared sheltered Shannon and Tomo from a lot of what was going on and carried the burden on his own.
***Tomo joined the band after their first album, 30 Seconds To Mars. He started playing with them during their second album, A Beautiful Lie.
Updated on Sunday January 19 to include THIS:
Ladies and gentlemen, that right there is a picture of Oprah, Constance and Jared at the SAG Awards this morning (where, in case you were wondering, Jared won another award. Naturally.)
My life is complete.
Picture from Getty Images (and I found it on Twitter. Thank you, Twitter!)
If it isn't obvious, Constance is Jared and Shannon's mother. Also known as 'Mama Mars' or 'Mama Leto'. Haha :p