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

 

 

 

Undecideds

Good morning.

My prayers are with Ronnie Burke’s family today, I know yours are too. My prayers are with Officer Rafael Martinez and his family – they are not struggling with the loss of a child, but they are struggling with a terrible truth. My prayers are with those families, and with this one.

You know, I find myself on days like this casting about… for someone to blame. I blame the kid he stole a car. I blame the parents, why couldn’t they teach him better? I blame the cop, did he need to fire? I blame everyone I can think of and I am filled with rage.

And then I try and find compassion. Compassion for the people I blame. Compassion for the people I do not understand. Compassion. Doesn’t always work so well.

I remember as a young man listening on the radio to Dr. King in 1968, he asked of us compassion and we responded. Not necessarily because we felt it but because he… convinced us that if we could find compassion, if we could, express compassion, and if we could just pretend compassion, it would heal us, so much more than vengeance could.

And he was right, it did. But not enough.

What we’ve learned this week is that more compassion is required of us and an even greater effort is required of us. And we are all, I think, everyone of us, tired. We’re tired of understanding. We’re tired of waiting. We’re tired of trying to figure out why our children are not safe and why our efforts to make them safe seem to fail. We’re tired.

But, we must know that we have made some progress. And blame will only destroy it. Blame will breed more violence and we have had enough of that. Blame will not rid our streets of crime, and drugs, and fear and we have had enough of that. Blame will not strengthen our schools, or our families, or our workforce – blame will rob us of those things. And we have had enough of that.

And so I ask you today to dig down deep with me and find that compassion in your hearts. Because it will keep us on the road. And we will walk together, and work together. And slowly, slowly, too slowly, things will get better.

God bless you. God bless you, and God bless your children.

santos

 

Greatness has a Cost.

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You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart – because it came with so much more.

It’s the ultimate sacrifice. Greatness has a cost.

It reschedules your plans for you, it puts your family and friends on hold, it makes you feel misunderstood, and it will put you in some deep dark holes.

Greatness demands everything from you.

Your mind, your body, your spirit and your soul.

So what do you do when you shoot four air balls in a playoff game, what do you do?

Do you sulk? Do you weep?

When you disappointed all of your teammates, when you let down all of the fans, do you ask for sympathy? Do you ask why me?

When they blast the coach for keeping you in the game, do you blame yourself? When they’ve drawn up their own conclusions about how your career is going to end, do you wish you could go back in time and make a different decision?

Or do you get off of the plane and go straight to Palace Aids High and get the janitor to open up the gym and lock yourself in there until the sun comes up?

And you go shoot, and you drill, and you relive that moment and change the outcome over and over again.

Decisions shape our destiny, and obsession can be beautiful.

What separated me is not a gift; it was a hunger.

A hunger to hunt when others would eat. A hunger to hone in when others thought they perfected.

They had a crossover, they had a fade-away, they all wanted rings, but they also had obligations. They weren’t willing to cut it all off.

See, its not just about going to the court, shooting, dribbling, practicing the same move again and again, no no.

Lack of skill is from a lack of mind – on and off the court.

From a little boy sitting on the ball in the park to a grizzled veteran on his last legs, its been a mission from day one.

To impart what I know, so you can better understand yourself. I’m here because the game needed me as much as I needed it.

The game was my comfort; a platform to grow and teach others the same.

It was where I learned about the terrors and joys of life.

Of ice baths and buzzer beaters, of struggle and of gold – and everything in between.

It was where I transformed the darkness to come closer to the light.

And it always brought a new challenge; a flaw that needed to be healed. And the game would send the medicine directly my way.

And you will have to make that choice for yourself. Whether that treatment would be worth it or not for you.

But greatness can not come without that cost.

How do you press enough without pressing too hard? How do you go far enough if you don’t go too far?

How do you get eleven others to begin their relentless pursuit to duplicate yourself?

Not in terms of skill, but in terms of competitive spirit.

To instill the intensity, to impart that DNA so they can be champions on the court and men off of it.

How do you prove to the world who you really are – to honestly express yourself?

The media will paint a story, the fans and critics will create their own, but no one’s expectations-no one’s-could live up to my own.

My love to become more, and to give more – I did everything for you.

Because that’s what you do when someone make’s you feel as alive as you’ve made me feel.

— Jaret Grossman —

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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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Everybody Wants To … Until Its Time

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I’m fragile. I feel pain. I hurt. I open my eyes. I create. I conquer. I hold the power.

I’m a thinker. I create victory. I do not give up. I feel no fear. I fear no man.

I’m an athlete, a warrior, an artist.

Some of ya’ll been worshiped since you was in high school, so you don’t really know how to grind. Like you talk grind – like I love it, like I go into the weight room and ya’ll playing like Pac. Ya’ll playing Biggie, like ya’ll all in it. Like, you like Pac but you don’t have the spirit of Pac. You like love Pac,  you like listening to Pac, you like listening to Biggie, you like to talk about the grind. But you don’t really know what the grind’s like.

I know what the grind is like. I started from the bottom. What is your bottom when you’ve been worshiped since middle school? You’ve been tall your whole life, big your whole life… They worshiped you so much now that you think its about you. You don’t even know what the grind look like.

I’m from Detroit. Homeless. Mama got pregnant with me at seventeen years old. High school drop out. Took me twelve years to get a four year degree. I am coming now! Its in view!

You finally made it to the big leagues, and now you wanna chill? Now you got the big head? Now you can’t grind?

You here now. You here now! You finally made it!

And this is where you break up? This is where you start chilling? This is where you get comfortable?

You made it now! You made it now! You in the big leagues now! They watching you now!

This is where you make it permanent!

Yeah I saw – I saw, “perfect, perfect,” nope. Practice don’t make perfect. Practice makes permanence! This is permanent ya’ll! This is permanent. You can go wherever you wanna go from here.

It does not take talent – you don’t have to be talented. Right? You don’t have to be gifted, you don’t have to be the quickest, the strongest. You don’t have to be the most intelligent to get to where I am. This is what you gotta do: You just got to grind though. Your grind – you got to out grind!

So many of you may of heard me say this, your father, listen to me, might own a company, your momma might be a millionaire, you might come from privilege, your daddy might hook you up with a car, he might know people, he might be able to get you a job, but you will not out work me.

And what you have to decide in your position, in the NCAA, you have to make a decision, that nobody in this league, in your position, will out work you.

Listen to me, you have got to grow up and get to the point as a man that if you ever get beat, you better get beat by somebody that’s just purely more talented than you are. You better not ever get beat by somebody because you beat yourself.

You have to take advantage of an opportunity of a life time in the life time of the opportunity.

Let me tell you something, you sitting in this room, you think you going to be eighteen for the rest of your life, you think you’re going to be nineteen for the rest of your life, you got an opportunity right now that you won’t have five years from now. You have an opportunity right now that you will never have!

People say, “Why you grind so hard E?” I might not be the number one motivational speaker in the world five years from now. I gotta get everything I can get right now! Every book I can wright, every – listen to me! My school is being paid for by the athletic department – I am hot right now!

Right here. You may never get another one. Some of you, after this, there may not be another opportunity. And let me tell you what I tell athletes; the worst thing in the world is not growing up in poverty. The worst thing in the world is growing up in poverty and coming here, and getting worshiped, and not taking advantage of this, and you got to go back to the hood! That’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a brother.

You better not lose this! This is the opportunity of a lifetime! Your grandma counting on you to do the right thing. Your momma counting on you, your cousins, your brothers and sisters are counting on you to cash in on this opportunity.

Everybody wanna be a beast. Everybody wanna be a BEAST! … Until its time to do what beasts do.

Until its time to do what beasts do…

Everybody wanna be a beast! Everybody got a lio– tattoos of lions! Lions all on they twitter page– everybody got the lion thing now, they tweeting now, “Rawr!”

But when its time to practice you aint on beast mode! Let me tell you something as I’m getting out of here; can I be real with ya’ll? Most of ya’ll think that a lion is who he is because of how ferocious he is when he catch that gazelle or when he catch that zebra. Can I be real with ya’ll? A part of being a beast just aint eating a gazelle. A part of being a beast is to hunt.

Its the hunt that they excited about! They like to see the gazelles run, then boom! They take off! Cause real lions like to hunt! They love the process – the process – just as much as they love the prize.

And some of ya’ll just want to score! You don’t like the process! You not in love with the process!

A real man in the dark when nobody’s watching, he putting in work.

A real man in the dark when nobody’s watching, he putting in work

A real man, when coach aint even watching, he’s studying film on his own. Because he loves the process…

If you will be a champion, if you will be a beast, you gonna have to go through something.

Aint nobody gonna hand you nothing. Aint nobody gonna hand you no championship. Aint nobody gonna hand you no title.

So this is my year – I end – this is my year. Listen to me, say, “Be Phenomenal,” this is it, I want you to chant it out, this is it, “Be Phenomenal Or Be Forgotten.” One, two, three:

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Source

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 ~

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