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

 

 

 

It All Goes Back In The Box

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Now my grandmother was a wonderful person; she taught me how to play the game Monopoly. She understood that the name of the game is to acquire. She would accumulate everything that she could and eventually she became the master of the board. And eventually, every time, she would take my last dollar and I would quit in utter defeat. And then she would always say the same thing to me, she would look at me she would say, ‘One day, you’ll learn to play the game.’

One summer I played Monopoly with a neighbor almost every day all day long; we played Monopoly for hours. And that summer I learned to play the game. I came to understand the only way to win is to make a total commitment to acquisition. I came to understand that money and possessions, that’s the way that you keep score. And by the end of that summer I was more ruthless than my grandmother. I was ready to bend the rules if I had to to win that game. And I sat down with her to play that fall – I took everything she had. I destroyed her financial and psychologically, I watched her give her last dollar and quit in utter defeat.

And then she had one more thing teach me. Then she said… ‘Now it all goes back in the box.’

‘All those houses and hotels, all the railroads and utility companies, all that property and all that wonderful money, now it all goes back in the box.’ I didn’t want it to go back in the box. ‘No,’ she said, ‘none of it was really yours. You’ll get all heated up about it for a while, but it was around a long time before you sat down at the board. And it will be here after you’re gone. Players come and players go – but it all goes back in the box.’ Houses and cars, titles and clothes, filled barns, bulging portfolios, even your body… Because the fact is, that everything I watch and consume and earn is going to go back in the box and I am going to lose it all. Not much of an ROI on that.

So you have to ask yourself, when you finally get the ultimate promotion, when you’ve made the ultimate purchase, when you buy the ultimate home, when you have stored up financial security and climbed the ladder of success to the highest rung you can possibly climb it and the thrill wears off… and it will wear off… Then what? How far do you have to walk down that road before you see where it leads? Surely you understand, it’ll never be enough.

So you have to ask yourself the question:

What Matters?

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Transcript made from a video created by The Journey of Purpose (TJOP):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSAVN-nYSLI