Ever Tried. Ever Failed.

I had so many dreams of where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do.

You have your own story to tell.

Theater companies I wanted to start with classmates, movies I wanted to be in, directors I wanted to work with, stories I needed to tell.

I packed the life that I knew with socks and a toothbrush into my backpack and I slept on couch, after couch, after couch, after couch at friends apartments in New York until I wore out their rent paying roommates’ welcome.

I didn’t want a “day job” – I was an actor, I was a writer – I had to get a day job. I dusted pianos at a piano store on Ludlow Street for five months. I worked on the property of a Shakespeare Scholar for a year pulling weeds and removing bees nests. I went on unemployment once but not for long, I couldn’t handle the guilt.

Eventually I was able to pay rent for a spot on the floor on the lower East side, but my roommate had a breakdown and disappeared. I helped hang paintings at galleries; paintings that inspire you to think, “I could do that.”

And then, finally, after two years of job and couch surfing, I got a “job”. In application processing. As a data enter-er, at a place called Professional Examination Services. And I stayed for six years – six years.

From the age of twenty-three to twenty-nine; well they loved me there. I was funny. I smoked in the loading docks with the guys from the mail room and we shared how hung over we were. I called in sick almost every Friday because I was out late the night before. I hated that job. And I clung to that job.

Because of that job, I could afford my own place. My dream of running a theater company with my friend and fellow Bennington graduate Ian Bell had died. I had only the one window – I myself could not look out the window, it was quite high. No “acting agent.”

When I was twenty-nine I told myself, “The next acting job I get, no matter what it pays I will from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor.”

But something good happened; I got a low paying theater job in a play called “Imperfect Love,” which led to a film called “Thirteen Moons” with the same writer. Which led to other roles, which led to other roles, and I’ve worked as an actor ever since.

I didn’t know that would happen. At twenty-nine, walking away from data processing, I was terrified. Ten years in a place without heat, six years at a job I was stuck in, maybe I was afraid of change.

Are you?

But this made me very hungry. Literally. I couldn’t be lazy, I couldn’t be. And so at twenty-nine, and at very long last, I was in the company of the actors and writers and directors I had sought at that first year, that first day, after school. I was, I am, by their sides.

Raise the rest of your life to meet you. Don’t search for defining moments because they will never come. The moments that define you have already happened, and they will already happen again. And it passes so quickly – so please, bring eachother along with you.

You, you just get a bit derailed. But soon something starts to happen, trust me, a rhythm sets in. Just try not to wait until like me, you’re twenty-nine before you find it. And if you are thats fine too. Some of us never find it. But you will, I promise you, you are already here. You will find your rhythm or continue the one you have already found.

Don’t wait until they tell you, you are ready. Get in there. Sing.

The world might say you aren’t allowed to yet. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail. Please, don’t even bother asking. Don’t bother telling the world you are ready. Show it. Do it.

What did Beckett say?

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.

We burn very brightly, please don’t ever stop. The world is yours. Treat everyone kindly, and light up the night.

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— Transcript made from a video (Are You Scared of Change) made by Mulligan Brothers

 

 

 

Uncomfortable vs Exhaustion

So you want to be successful huh? Well there’s one thing in this world that has the ability to change our whole life in an instant. You know what it is? Its action. So first step, you just need to make a decision.

Ask yourself this, a year from now, five years from now, what are you going to wish you did today? The secret to getting ahead in this world is first getting started. You can’t let fear stand in the way of your dreams. You cannot think “Oh what if this doesn’t work?” If you believe enough in the process and the end result, success is going to come to you. It will. You just got to be willing to see it through to the end. But first you just got to jump in the deep end man; and once something goes into motion it stays in motion. The process itself feeds the fire. You can’t be trapped by fear. Limits like fears, they’re illusions. Disregard them. If you’re passionate about it and you go full throttle, there is no doubt: you are going to be good at it.

Because what makes someone good at something? Its dedication, hard work, and its doing it with the proper direction and methodology. So if you plug away you are going to be good.

But what makes someone a professional at something? Its the concept of taking that little idea, that little decision you make, and executing to take it as far as your imagination holds. Dedicating every breath in your body to that single cause. Seeing the grand picture at the end of the road to be the absolute best. And not settling for any reason. Its not talent, its not innate ability, it simply comes down to how hungry you are.

How hungry are you to improve? How big is your appetite for success? What are you willing to do to reach your dreams?

The professionals, the best at their craft, they don’t care about the naysayers. They don’t care about the fun they are foregoing. They don’t take days off. They are one hundred percent set in their ways in perfecting their craft. Because its all for a much larger purpose than any semblance of happiness that immediate gratification provides. Reaching your goal? Well thats just pure bliss.

The higher the expectations, the larger the goal? Well the feeling just magnifies. So whats the difference between you and them? The professionals, they are the ones who are willing to knock on the doors of complete exhaustion every single day. Now let me define exhaustion for you.

Exhaustion is at that very point where its just so damn painful that you just can’t push anymore. That it hurts so bad that you cannot even think straight. Its in reaching that point when deep down, you know, that you did absolutely everything in your power. That there wasn’t one more thing you  could have done. So whats the difference between them and you?

What are you doing at this present moment in time? Ask yourself this: Are you moving closer towards your goals, or are you moving further away from them? Are you knocking on those doors of exhaustion, or are you just comfortable? You see, being uncomfortable is not exhaustion. Being uncomfortable is your mind quitting before your body. Being uncomfortable is just saying no to trying again. Achieving greatness happens when you are willing to do something that will kill you just to make you better.

You see, its easier to buy the ticket to see the game then it is to be the one to prepare for it. Its easier to hang out with your friends then it is to hang with the stairs for an hour. Its easier to sleep in then it is to wake up to a hundred sprints. Its easier to go to a party then it is to go ass to the grass in squats. Its easier to watch athletes from the couch then it is to be the one hoisting the trophy.

But its also a lot easier to look back on your life and know you gave it your all then it is to live with regrets. Not living up to your potential… Well that weighs on your shoulders for a life time.

No one said that being successful was going to be easy. But I will tell you one thing, it sure as hell is worth it. You are your own maker in your world, and there is no such thing as failure. You just got to tell it, “No. Not this time. Not with me.” I’m going to try again, and again, and again, and I’m going to look failure straight in thew face and I’m going to tell it that I am willing to go through all of the struggles to reach my dreams. Because without struggle there is never going to be any progress. Its all in how bad you want it.

How big is your appetite for success? Do you just want a bite, or are you starving out there for it?

Stay empty. Stay driven. Stay hungry.

–Jaret Grossman–

 

Know Thyself

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses.

Behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road.

Long before I dance under those lights.

Theory is not mastery. Repetition is.

If its systematic you can improve it, over and over again.

Muscle memory, miling, the neural connections go from forming a little string, to turning it into a cable wire.

But what I’ve learned is you don’t control everything in life.

You don’t control what you look like, or how to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your body from degenerating.

You don’t control who comes into your life and you certainty don’t control all of the lessons that the universe has in store for you.

So you can’t possibly account for how everything will work out, but you know your destiny.

You know what you want and you know why you want it on the deepest level.

And thoughts you can control.

Thoughts contain matter. Thoughts influence actions.

So the self talk is not hubris, or false pride, but its affirmation.

Its an understanding who you really are.

Who else is going to tell you, you are the greatest?

But you always carry your humility with you.

And you carry the same will to act when you are winning or even when you feel like you are dying.

That’s the mind of a psychological warrior.

But at some point the purpose is in a different intensity.

Letting go can be just as beautiful.

The legacy cannot be complete without it.

Everything that has a beginning has an end.

To appreciate life and all its glory, it must come full circle.

But here’s the distinction:

You are gone but never dead. You are away but never forgotten.

The message leaves an imprint forever.

How you lived; be true to yourself and to truth itself.

Its polarizing yet unifying.

Its tough yet gentle.

Bold yet humble.

And now the world needs a new champion.

Not only in the ring, but outside of it.

Who is going to step up and follow what had to be done?

Who is going to perpetuate the legacy?

An authentic life is a full life.

Know thyself and greatness will be yours.

— But if you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize. —

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Young King

‘My dreams don’t live down there.’ That’s what my granddad used to tell me .When I used to walk in the projects and look down I’d see crack needles, I’d see bullets, I’d see blood stains – but when I looked to the sky I saw my dreams. I saw my opportunity.

When I would go to school they would tell me I was too dumb. They told me I’d be like my father, like my family; selling dope, going to the penitentiary. Never seeing what the real world would be… See I was a kid that couldn’t read till he was 16, but my dream was bigger than my reality.

I’m telling you Young King, keep fighting because your life depends on it. Just like when you get hit with that bullet, and your boy is telling you “Don’t stop breathing, don’t stop fighting, you still got life to live.” Because if you lay there in your pool of blood you are going to die there.

Young King, Young King learn how to fight for your purpose and not the money. Because I know we come from them crack houses, I know we come from nothing, but listen to that voice inside your head that tells you that you have everything you need inside of you. I’m going to tell you, there is going to be people that say your dream is false. But I’m here to tell you, your dream is real. Your dream is realer than anything you could ever imagine.

You eating those ramen noodles, you eating that trash every night for dinner, but in your mind you are envisioning a state, you’re envisioning the finer things in life. Pay the price today to live the life that you wanted for your family, you wanted for your kids. Give back to the child that you was when you laid on your mother’s lap. Give back to the child when you whispered to your friends and you told them what you wanted to be.

I’m a kid from Pontiac, Michigan, and they said crime was the only thing that we can be. They say the penitentiary is the only thing we will ever see.

Well I’m telling you now King, the best things come from the bottom. Just like when you open up that cereal box as a kid, you couldn’t wait to get that prize at the bottom. Because let me tell you, God leaves you gifts at the bottom of the stairs, and its up to you to walk up the stairs and show the world your gift.

You’re great King. You’re Great.

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In the Dark – by Jaret Grossman

Will you film when no one is watching?  Will you sing when no one is listening? Will you write when not one soul will read it? Because if you can, then its yours.

Will you do it in the dark? When no one is there to tell you what to do or who you should be. When no one is there looking over your shoulder making sure you actually do it. There is no one grading your homework here. You’re the teacher and you are the student.

So will you do it when no one cares? When there is no funding, no support. When there are no crowds and no one is there to cheer you on and pump you up – will you do it then?

The greatest advice I can ever give you is that you must be successful before you can ever be successful. Meaning, whatever you want to do in this life, or whoever you want to be, you most do it before you are ever rewarded for it. Because if you  can’t handle that struggle, you don’t deserve the comfort.

See, you want to be an inspiration – but  you can’t influence anybody if you can’t influence one person first: yourself. How are you going to be that rock to someone if you can’t do it now, by-your-self? You want to be relied upon? You have to make it through that mud first.

See, last time I checked its ‘monkey see, monkey do,’ not ‘monkey hear, monkey do.’ Your character is defined by what you actually do. And no action speaks louder than when you do it when no one is paying attention. When there is no accountability except to yourself, and your own word becomes your bond.

You will be rewarded in public for what you spend years doing in the dark, alone, in your private time. Do you do it for Instagram or is that genuinely who you are? Have the water bottles just lying around the car if that’s who you are, don’t clean up when someone stops by the house.

You can fool people some of the time but you can’t fake life. You can’t bypass universal principles that this universe was created upon. All the behaviors, all of them tie together. Because you bring yourself into everything that you do. So how you do anything is how you do everything.

And if you want to be a legend then there has to be something different about you. Its called congruency. Will you hold the door open when you don’t get a thank you? How do you treat people you don’t have to be nice too?

Real legends, real ones do the right thing. Especially when there is no reward. So you better earn your stripes when no one knows your name. When no one is giving you money to continue. And you better believe in yourself when no one else does. And you better believe in some moral principles long before you are under those lights.

Because the war is won before it is ever fought.

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Identity – by Jaret Grossman

One thing changes us, one thing. And that’s who we perceive ourselves to be. So I don’t care if you have to play mind ticks with yourself about where you came from or what genetics you’re born with or what skills you actually have. But its all about the culture that’s set within. See, its January first and you’ve got these resolutions right, well lets break down that word.

What are you trying to resolve? Whats in conflict? Well whats in conflict is, who you are right now is not who you want to be, or who you need to be, for that matter. See there’s a gap, and you have to understand that gap and you need to close it. How do you close it? Well first you make a decision. You decide right here right now, that you’re no longer going to keep up with this set of rituals that you’ve created for yourself. And your not going to call it “a set of rituals.” No no no no no.

You know it as sleeping nine and a half ours, as hitting the snooze button three times before you wake up, as checking facebook every time you hit your computer. But make no mistake about it, if you’re doing it every single day, then its a culture. Its a routine that you’ve set for yourself, and its about creating a new tone. Its about creating a new standard. Its about creating a new way of life.

So you decide to make a new pattern and you take action with it and you stay committed to it. Because you’re going to get pumped up, you’re gonna get excited, you’re gonna be energetic to wright down those resolutions or to make goals, to make that initial decision. But whats left after that energy fades? And I promise you it will fade.

Whats left is you. The measure of the man, the measure of the woman. Beyond the smoke, behind the mirrors, what is left is you. Your effort, when the energy fades do you stay true to your word? Because your word is your bond. You made a promise, are you going to stick to that pact?

Decision, action, and commitment. That’s what forms a new identity. Because that’s the one thing that changes us. See, politics aside, Marcus Luttrell made up in his mind that he wasn’t going to die on that mountain top. He knew in his heart of hearts that he wasn’t going to go out that way. That’s how you can get through broken bones. That’s how Michael Jordan is able to have, what most people would call a “career game,” with the flu. That’s how Michael Phelps wins his seventh medal by one one-hundredth of a second.

He is getting dominated the entire race, his hands are all the way back just before the other guy is going to touch the wall – and before you can blink, he is able to touch the wall. That’s not motivation, that’s not passion, that’s not skill, that’s not even desire. That’s not wanting it more than the other person – that’s identifying with something so deep. That’s something resonating inside you that says “I do not lose. This is who I am. And there is no alternative, this is how its going to be.”

And that’s when you change long term. See you’ve got weak parts, and you’ve got strong parts. Its about which one you’re going to reinforce. See Kobe Bryant, he knew he had to divide himself. He had to separate his personal struggles from when he stepped onto the court, that’s why he created the Black Mamba. You’ve got weak parts and you’ve got strong parts, that you’ve got to be able to flip the switch and know when the ruthless, competitive, that killer instinct is going to come out.

This new identity that you formed for yourself, who do you see yourself as?

Who do you really see yourself as?

Because when that changes, then the mechanics change.

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Your Gift

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10:45 p.m., Christmas Eve… Don’t stop fighting.

It’s almost time to open that gift.

See many of us, we give up, right before we reach that last step.

We start to listen to the echos, of the doubters.

We start to listen to the echos, of the people who don’t even believe in themselves.

Young King,

You literally got to see it, before its in your hands.

You want to jump to different careers, when at the end of the day, your gift is your career.

Don’t let that person convince you to go up another flight of stairs, when your dream and your gift is four steps away.

We got to get it.

They aint see nothing in us. They saw us as trash that they walk passed on the ground.

But God got a funny way, he got a funny way of lifting you up.

Lifting that trash from the ground, breathing air into the dust, and taught it into man.

Placing a crown on his head.

For me, he took a man on the side of a Tokyo gas station.

No money, no cellphone, no hope.

And he lift me up, and he told the world,

“Watch my son shine!”

Young King,

You got greatness in you.

We come from the bottom, but we wont stay there.

Let’s become everything they told us we couldn’t. Let’s become everything they can never see.

And let’s become everything they want to be.

No matter where you start, don’t you ever quit on your dream.

Because you might just be that person, leaving your gifts down stairs under the tree,

And God already wrote your name on it.

Go claim what belongs to you.

No matter what hits you in life, no matter who leaves you, no matter who walks away,

Continue to fight for your gift under that tree.

I got plenty of men who watch me do what I do,

And they look at me like “I cant believe it.”

But what I whisper to them, with everything in my heart, I tell them,

“It was never meant for you to see. It was never meant for you to understand.”

Understand that tears are necessary. Understand that pain is necessary.

They wont give you nothing. You’re gonna have to earn it.

So just like when you walk into your momma’s room, 10:45 p.m. Christmas eve,

And you say “Momma, can i please open a gift?”

She say,

“No baby, you gotta wait, you gotta wait til the morning.

But I promise, if you can lay down, and you can toss and turn a little bit longer,

In the morning, you’ll see the best gift you ever seen in your life.”

Kings,

Its 10:45 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Stay strong. Stay steady.

And enjoy the gifts in the morning.