So now, we’ve reached the point where things get real.
This is the stage where you must make a choice and free-fall into the decision you’ve made, fully aware of the fact that you might hit nothing but rocks at the bottom. That is to say, you must blindly start walking down a road you’re unfamiliar with, not knowing if the end will lead you to your ultimate demise.
If your empire is truly what you want in this world, then you must push past a point of no return. And its here. And it’s now.
There was a saying I heard once in college….
Sir Ian McKellen had paid us a visit to lecture us on how to become great actors and actresses. There are two very specific things he said that I’ll never forget:
1) When asked on how to prepare for a role: Sir Ian hinted at the fact that on very rare occasions a little bit of marijuana helps to stimulate the imagination. He may or may not have been joking about that. I’ll never tell.
And 2) When asked on how to succeed as an actor: he reiterated a common quote that is often said amongst artists, “If you can imagine yourself doing anything else, ANYTHING ELSE in the whole world, do that.”
When you dedicate yourself to something, the road you must travel on in order to achieve what you want is, under no circumstances, a two way street. There are too many sacrifices that must be made, too many decisions, to many long hours, too much effort, time, and persistence that must be exerted on a daily basis in order for your dream to become a reality. You have to invest yourself, your time, your money, and sometimes your sanity, into obtaining the end goal. And that, my friends, is not only a lot to ask of yourself, but also, scary as all hell.
Which is why I can understand why people quit.
If you’ve ever quit at something, you understood at some point that you were not willing to sacrifice one or all of the things I’ve mentioned above. You declared the outcome not worth the struggle.
And that is okay.
It is extremely okay to quit. I commend you quitters for being honest with yourselves in deciding that you did not love the thing enough to see it through. That’s actually a healthy declaration you’ve made for yourself. Truly. Good for you. You’re stronger now because you were true to yourself.
…there’s always a but…
If the reason you quit is because the thing that you wanted was too hard, or too much effort, or too much time, and yet you really did truly love that thing, and still do, but you let it go anyway, then you are 1) a lazy bum – which is the most sinful thing you can be, or 2) you’re lying to yourself about how much you loved the thing you wanted – AKA – you don’t love it more than you love your comfort – which is why you’ll always be left wondering “what if” for the rest of time.
These second type of quitters I don’t applaud. Because you’re not being honest with yourself and you’ve grown into a potato.
In which case, you better start learning potato recipes because from now on that’s all you get to eat.
“No soup for you.”
The good news is that the one way street towards what you’ve always wanted will always be there. You merely have to decide to take the risk.
But again, please understand that that type of decision is a huge undertaking.
When I decided to move to LA, I didn’t realize that I had decided to move to LA. I initially bought a round-trip air ticket from Houston, TX to Los Angeles and back again. I knew I eventually wanted to live here and try to live out my dreams, but I told myself I needed to check it out and “see” first ( ah, yes, the common excuse for people who are too afraid to take a plunge).
When I landed, my friend picked me up at the airport. Within four hours, and by complete accident, I landed myself a day job. I had no further plans, no apartment, no car, and only one suitcase full of clothing. Yet, still, without logical rhyme or reason, I never got back on that return flight to TX. It was meant to be, because I declared it so.
It’s been three years since then and I live on my own in a studio apartment right in the smack-dab-middle of Hollywood, I have a job that is flexible enough for me to invest my time and efforts into my film career and the building of my empire, I still don’t have a car (damn you, city of Los Angeles. But thank God for Lyft), and I am doing what I love to do each and every single day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it took a lot to even get this far. And it’s still scary as hell; sometimes things aren’t as good as they seem, and sometimes they are better than they seem. It’s consistent effort, work, blood, sweat, and tears, but I completely knew that the moment I chose not to get back on that plane.
But see, this is what I am telling you.
There is no fairy tale that exists in the city of angels. Don’t look for one, you won’t find it.
The city looks pretty on the outside, but most of the time, she’s the biggest bitch you’ll ever meet. You will not in any way shape or form ever feel comfortable here, for any reason, whatsoever. Get over it.
And this is why I urge you to ask yourself once more: “Can I see myself doing anything else, anywhere else in the world?”
If you answered yes, I would advise you to pack your bags and get back on that return flight home. Do that other thing. You will be much happier.
If you answered no, ladies and gentlemen, prepare to work harder than you ever will in your life, and prepare to cry and scream and kick every step of the way. Your happiness is now not only a luxury, but also entirely dependent on the return of a hard days work well done.
So, hop the f**k on.
Your empire reluctantly awaits you.