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–

 

Obsessed With Improvement

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Listen to me very closely – I need you to upgrade your values. Somebody asked me about two months ago, he said “ET, if there is one mistake you made, whats the one mistake you made?” I said “I’m going to be honest with you, my values aren’t in alignment with my dreams.” He said “ET what do you mean by that?” I said “I’m going to tell you a story:”

I’ve got a good friend of mine, he came to me and said “Eric, my marriage is not where my marriage needs to be, I need to make some adjustments. I see you and your wife, I see how much time you spend with your wife, how much time you spend with your children, and I just – I want that. You buy your wife roses regularly, you always taking her out to eat… Like E I am watching you, you spoil her, ET what can I do?” And so I told him what to do and guess what he started doing guys? He started doing the exact same thing I started doing, and he said “Eric its not working. I’m doing exactly what you’re doing but its not working,” he said “why isn’t it working?” I said “You know why its not working? Because your values and your dreams — You say you want a better marriage, but I told you, you need to iron your wife’s clothes.” And you know what he told me? “I know Eric, you told me to iron, you told me to wash, you told me to cook, but where I come from when I do that, I feel like a punk.” And I said “And that’s why you’re having a hard time doing it.”

Because your value system says a man is not supposed to iron, a man is not supposed to cook, a man is not supposed to wash dishes; that’s what your value system saying. So you’re doing one thing, but you’re going against your own value system. The reason why I’m having such an easy time washing clothes and cooking and ironing-you know why-is because nothing is as important to me as my marriage. And I would rather be happy, I would rather be happy, than to say “I aint no punk.” Make me a punk, I want to be a punk! A happy punk. For real though, a friend of mine came to my house and I didn’t have a mop so I was on the ground and I was mopping the floor with a towel and he said “ET, the hiphoppreacher, you are on the ground and you’re mopping?” And I said “Yeah.”  He said “Your wife’s got you whipped.” I said “You didn’t know!? You just found that out?  I’ve been doing a terrible job I’m sorry. I am whipped.” And after twenty-three years you should be, and you’re if not its a problem.

So listen to me, there are those of you saying “I want to be a millionaire! I want to be the best in this company!” right? But your value system says you believe in sleep more than you believe in grinding. Your value system says you are a consumer and not a producer, that you are spending more money than you are making. Why? Because you’re a consumer – but you’re reading all the books and saying everything the the books are saying – but those books are not in alignment with your values. And if you are going to go to the next level your values are going to have to change.

That’s what happened for Eric Thomas, my values about learning changed. I realized that information changes situations and so I’d rather buy a book than buy a house. Because if I buy a book I can buy several homes, but if I buy a home and I don’t have the right informa– Guys for real, ok I’m going to leave you with this, this is crazy. Can I be honest with you guys? You could burn my house down and it wouldn’t bother me. Well how do I know? I had a home that a tornado tore down in Alabama, it didn’t bother me. Why? Because we have the blueprint; and they can rebuild it. You can take all my money out the bank, it might hit me-oooh-but if I tell you my line up of speaking, and our audio book, what we’re making every month we’ll be alright, I can make more money. But if you take the knowledge out of my head and take the experiences that I have, I am broke, I am nothing. So now I don’t just read because I see other people reading and I want to mimic what they’re doing; I really believe in reading now. And so all I do when I have time is read.

Last one: You’ve got to be obsessed with improvement guys. Last one, come on – come on! This one is so important because some of the greatest minds are going to be in front of you today. Some people in this room who are not just talking it, they’ve lived it.But here is the problem – the problem with most people is that you’re not obsessed with improvement. You’re obsessed with making money, you are obsessed with taking your business to the next level… And can I be honest with you guys? When you become obsessed with improvement — I will spend more time learning in Australia then I will speaking. I am going to say it again because you missed it: I will spend more time sitting under people, I will spend more time with Glenn, I will spend more time with Aaron, I will spend more time learning than I will speaking in this country! I will walk away with stuff I never heard before, books I’ve never read before, audios I’ve never seen before, going to conferences that I’ve never gone, hanging out with people that I’ve never hung out with before.

This is nothing guys, this is just a dessert. Me speaking is just a dessert. This is just the beginning – I came to Australia to learn. I came to Australia to get an upgrade. When I go back my wife will notice a difference, my kids will know a difference — why? I’m obsessed with improvement! Every day I am getting better! There are those of you with phones and every new phone that comes out, you get it. Every upgrade you get it, every piece of software you get it. You are upgrading your technology and you’ve not upgraded yourself! You’ve got the same operating system you’ve had since 1995 – you don’t think any different, you don’t speak any different, you are the exact same person you were in 2010.

And I challenge you, the final one, I challenge you, the final one I challenge you, we’ve got five seconds… four seconds I challenge you… Be Obsessed With Improvement.Be Obsessed With Improvement! BE OBSESSED WITH IMPROVEMENT!

– Eric Thomas –

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Lion or Gazelle?

Eric Thomas was asked to speak to

high school all american football players about having a sound mind and sound body…

This camp is not about you coming and putting on a shirt that says, “Sound Mind. Sound Body.” That’s not what this camp is about. This camp is you leaving and possessing – possessing! Everything they teach you, you taking it with you. You’re not just here to hear it – you’re not just here to hear it! You’re not just here to meet coaches, you’re not just here to get in the environment. You are here for everything Guy just told you, all the core things he told you about a sound mind — everything coach Antonio just told you — everything you heard, everything you see, you are supposed to take that! You take it with you and you embody it! You become the essence of everything they talked about and poof! You are going to automatically put yourself on a whole other level.

Some of you, you’re a beast! … until its uncomfortable. You’re a beast! … when the weather is right. You’re a beast! … when coach tell you to do something that you’re comfortable with. You’re a beast! … when you’re playing your position. You’re a beast! … When everything is going right. But sometimes stuff starts happening where it is uncomfortable and you start to break. You start to bend, you start to fold!

And what he told little man was, “You got to learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.” It aint always going to be the way you like; its not always going to be comfortable. The conditions aint always going to be perfect but if you want this – if you really want this – you gotta learn to sacrifice. You got to learn to give up to go up.

Some of ya’ll, there is some stuff when you leave this place… to make it to the next level there is some stuff you’re going to have to give up. Some people you are going to let go of, some habits you’re going to have to let go of, are you hearing what I am telling you? There’s some stuff you are going to have to give up, are you hearing me? There’s some stuff you’re going to have to sacrifice, some people you’re going to have to let go, some things you’re going to have to let go, some mind sets you’re going to have to let go of to get to that next level.

The thing that scares me about this room right here, is that you all got the same dream, but only a few of you are going to make it become a reality. The person with the strong mind and the strong body is the person that’s — listen to me very closely, this is what bothers me. I’m sitting in a room where everybody’s dreams can’t be a reality. Everybody who is playing the same position, ya’ll can’t all go to the same school – somebody is going to out beat somebody. Somebody is going to out do somebody, somebody is going to be the gazelle and somebody is going to be the lion. Somebody is going to walk out of here and say, “Everything I heard –” you going to take it and you’re going to apply it! You’re going to be a different person, you are going to operate different. Coach aint even going to know who you are – your parents aint going to know who you are! You’re going to shock yourself and surprise yourself!

When I was in Cairo, Egypt talking to ten thousand people it shocked me, I couldn’t believe it! High school drop-out, West side of Detroit, 8 Mile and Braile… in Cairo, Egypt. When I went to Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, I’m like “Yo, I’m from Detroit. By the grace of god, god’s mercy I am here!” I had a strong mind, a strong body; I started studying, I started putting in the work and I realized somebody else is trying to do exactly what I am trying to do.

Are you a gazelle? Or are you a lion? Are you a gazelle or are you a lion? And let me tell you the difference between a gazelle and a lion. When a gazelle wakes up it runs, but if a lion aint chasing it… it stops running. But when the lion wakes up… it don’t need nobody to push it, it pushes itself. Why? Because he realizes that if he does not catch that gazelle, not only him but his family don’t eat.

What are you playing this game for? What’s your passion? What’s your drive? What’s your purpose? What’s your purpose for playing this game? Why are you doing what you are doing? And when you know why you are doing what you are doing — you saw my t-shirt: “No Alarm Clock Needed. My Passion Wakes Me Up.” I got up at three o’clock this morning. No clock! I aint used the clock in twenty years, my passion wakes me up! My drive wakes me up. My determination wakes me up. My ability to be, do and have whatever I want, it wakes me up!

What wakes you up!? What drives you!? Why are you playing this game!? Is it just a game!? Or do you eat it, do you sleep it, do you drink it!? Have you possessed the game!? Do you want to change the game!?

I’m sitting with a D1 basketball player this morning, freshman, he pulled out a piece of paper and he showed me twenty goals: what he wants to accomplish in Big Ten. Eighteen year old kid, twenty goals! I asked him “Why you got these goals?” He said, “Because right now, my mama aint eating. Right now… Right now, my grandma, I can’t afford to buy her a drink of water. But I guarantee you next year this time, I’ll make my mark.” I said, “Ooh. I feel sorry for all the guards that got to come up against this kid.”

From this day forward! (From this day forward!)I will give a hundred and twenty percent! (I will give a hundred and twenty percent!) Or nothing at all! (Or nothing at all!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) From this day forward! (From this day forward!) I will give a hundred and twenty percent! (I will give a hundred and twenty percent!) Or nothing at all! (Or nothing at all!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) Strong Mind! (Strong Mind!) Strong Body! (Strong Body!)

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So You Want To Succeed As Bad As You Want To Breathe – Now What?

So you thought it was the end of the story?

So you thought just because the student was willing to be obedient to the guru and not only wake up, but meet him at the beach early in the morning – you thought that was enough?

Oh I got it,

So you thought because he was willing to walk out into the deep of the ocean that, that was enough; because, the guru placed his head under the water, pulled it out, and taught him that the secret of success is wanting it as bad as you want to breathe. So you thought that was the end of the story?

You thought that one single event, that one single moment was enough for him to stand amongst the greats, to make his dream become a reality…

Well you thought wrong.

In fact, it is far from over. That was the easy part.

Now! Now it’s time, to redefine the grind.

So you thought it was over… ha. Well it is just getting started.

See, this is the part; this is the part where life demands you make a lifelong commitment. This is the part where life demands that you make a vow,

Come hail or high water, that you’re willing to pay the price,

The full fair where you earn your spot with effort, with sweat, with blood, with tears!

So you say you want it as bad as you want to breathe… Then it’s your time.

It’s examination time. It’s time to get tested.

To test your will, your endurance – it’s time to test your heart.

To test your limits!

This is the part where you reinvent yourself.

Sleep? I don’t sleep – you thought that was it?

It goes deeper than going without sleep because you might miss the opportunity to succeed.

No, no, no – It’s about no days off.

No weekends. No holidays. No birthdays.

Listen to me: No Days Off!

No half days, no holidays, no snow days.

It’s about gaining the competitive edge. It’s about separation.

It’s about separating yourself from the pack – the competition.

It’s about being a little faster, a little stronger-listen to me-a little faster than you were last year, last month, last week.

In fact, you’ve got to be a little faster today then you were yesterday.

And you can’t afford – on the road to success – you can’t afford to make excuses.

No excuses.

When you feel pain, and trust me you will feel it –

You’ve got to go deep, deep down beyond, beyond exhaustion, beyond worn out –

And when it’s harder than you imagined it would be, when it takes longer than you thought it would take, and when the load is heavier than you thought you could bare –

And all you want to do is give up, and all you want to do is given in –

When you feel like you’ve given all you got…

You got to take one more step! You got to run one more lap! You got to throw one more punch!

And regardless of how much effort it takes, you got to fight back!

You got to fight a little harder and you’ve got to defeat disappointment. Annihilate weakness and punish the competition.

It’s about pushing yourself beyond the limits.

It’s about perfecting the You.

Not just doing more, not just being better – But finding your best!

Listen to me; this is more than wanting it as bad as you want to breath,

That’s not enough.

You’ve got to be willing to face every fear, to climb every mountain, defy every odd, onslaught every obstacle.

One step at a time, one day at a time,

Until you, only you are left standing.

There is no one else, or nothing in your way,

Until you reach the top!

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~ Eric Thomas ~

I Want to See

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Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. Are you hearing me? Only those who are willing to risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. Look, you’ve got to want it as bad as you want to breathe. And you can go further than you think; listen to me, you’re in three and you’ve got six gears. But you’re accustomed to three, accustomed to four. I challenge you, I challenge you to push it to all the gears you got. Give it everything you’ve got.

Listen to me. Do you think I thought I was going to write a book? Do you think I thought I was going to be an author? Do you think I thought I was going to be marching this year with a PhD? Do you think I thought I would be traveling the world, NFL, NBA? Do you think I thought I would be doing this as a high school dropout, as somebody that was homeless – do you think I thought I would go this far?

But I pushed it! I said I want to see how far I can go. I want to see what I can accomplish. I want to see what I can do, what I can be, what I can have. I want to see. I don’t want to see what I think I can do. I don’t want to see what I think is possible. I want to see what my life would look like if I didn’t count the cost and if I was willing to go further than anybody else was willing to do. If I had the mentality that, ‘Eric, you’ve got to want it! You got to want it as bad as you want to breathe!’ And I woke up, and here I am.

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~ Eric Thomas ~

Focus

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I am a living witness that if you’re brave enough to dream it, it can happen. You’ve got to be determined that no matter what it takes you’re not going to stop, you’re not going to quit, you’re not going to give up until you make your dream become a reality. When I leave this place it’s to help you come that much closer to making your dream become a reality.

2013 was the Why. So what happens is, as you grow, and as you develop, and as you improve yourself these new concepts start to come. And so the why had always been a part of my life, but I was able to tap into – 2013, I was able to tap into that why in a way I never tapped into that why before.

Are you excited? I’m going to be a millionaire! I’m going to change the world! I’m going to do this for this person, I’m going to buy this for my mom; my children, I am going to put them through school! You got all of these great dreams… and then you get up in the morning and life punches you in the face.

ET, just like you, I get punched in the face… Now you don’t always know about it, I don’t always talk about it because I don’t want to discourage you. But I have had multiple aunts, at least two or three aunts die of cancer in the last four or five years – we all get knocked out! Life hasn’t been a crystal stair; I’ve had my haters, I’ve had people who’ve come against me, who try to sabotage me.

I’m like the lion, I’m not the gazelle – I don’t need something external to motivate me. I find something within! And you got to do me a favor like, you can’t give up. You can’t give in. Listen to me; if it was easy everyone would do it. And if life’s got you backed up I need you to do what Buster Douglas did; Buster Douglas started fighting back. He said ‘I know you knocked out thirty other people before me but I will not the thirty-first.’ And finally they got to that round… where Buster Douglas knocked Mike Tyson out. And the world was shocked! Goliath has been knocked down, what happened!? And they went to Buster Douglas and they asked Buster Douglas simply like, what happened? And Buster Douglas said, ‘Listen to me – I’m just going to be honest with you guys. Here was the challenge, the challenge was, it’s real simple… before my mother died she told the whole world I was going to beat Mike Tyson. And two days before the fight my mother died.’

Buster Douglas had a decision to make; when his mother died he could die with his mother, or he made a decision, I can wake up, and I can live for mom! And he knocked Mike Tyson out simply because his why was greater than that punch.

Find that reason to wake up every day and go get it. Everybody’s got a dream, everybody’s got a goal. But when you write your why down, what your why does for you is says: You can’t quit! You can’t give up! You can’t stop! If there’s no money you make up something – you go print it. If nobody’s giving you an opportunity you create it. But what I can’t do is I can’t let me son down. I can’t let my wife down. I can’t let my parents down. I can’t let my city down. And for you your problem is your just focusing on your dreams and your goals; and you’re not focusing on why. Why? Why do you want this? Why do you get up in the morning?

Somebody said, ‘ET, why do you get up at three o’clock?’ Why not? If all I have to do is wake up at three o’clock in the morning and my family can live like they want to live, and I can change the world… three o’clock? Have you lost your mind? I will get up at three every day. Why? Because my why is greater than my sleep.

What makes a person average is their focus. Like an average person is focusing on getting paid – that’s why they’re average. A person who’s good, he’s focusing on, I want to make my boss happy. A person who’s great, his focus is what need can I meet? His focus is different – same human being but his focus is entirely different. Your concentration is supposed to change, and so what you’re focusing on throughout the course of the day, it has to change. What you’re looking at, what you’re reading, what you’re watching, the conversations you have… you must now be focused on your why, you must be focused on your dreams, and you must be focused on your goals.

When you’re great you don’t focus on a week. When you are great you don’t focus on a month. When you are great you don’t focus on a year. You concentrate on the twenty four hours that’s in front of you and you nail it!

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~Eric Thomas~