This story has circulated before, but I wanted to share it with you, as it is one of the most poignant stories ever told in Hollywood.
His name is Sylvestar Stallone: one of the most famous American movie superstars. Back in the day, Stallone was a struggling actor in every definition. Things became so bad that he eventually ended up homeless. Yes, he slept at the New York bus station for 3 days. Unable to pay rent or afford food. His lowest point came when he tried to sell his dog at the liquor store to any stranger. He didnt have money to feed the dog anymore. He had to sell him for only $25. He says he walked away crying.
Two weeks later, he saw a boxing match between Muhammed Ali and Chuck Wepner and that match gave him the inspiration to write the script for the famous movie, ROCKY: a script he wrote in 20 hours! He tried to sell it and got an offer for $125,000 for the script. But he had just one condition. He wanted to star in the movie. He wanted to be the main actor: Rocky himself. But the studio said, “No.” They wanted a “real star.”
They said that he “looked and talked funny.” He left with his script. Afew weeks later, the studio offered him $250,000 for the script. He refused. They even offered $350,000. He still refused. They wanted his movie, but not him. He continued to refuse them. He had decided he had to be in the movie.
The studio finally conceded, and gave him $35,000 for the script to let him star in it! The rest is history! The movie won Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing at the prestigious Oscar Awards. He was even nominated for “Best Actor!” The Movie ROCKY was inducted into the American National Film Registry as one of the greatest movies ever.
Can you guess the first thing he bought with the $3,000? THE DOG HE SOLD. He loved his dog so much that he stood at the liquor store for 3 days waiting for the man to whom he had sold his dog. On the 3rd day, he saw the man and explained why he sold the dog and begged for the dog back. The man refused. Stallone offered him $100. The man refused. He offered him $500. And the guy refused. Yes, he refused even $1000. Stallone had to pay $3,000 for the same dog he had sold for only $25. But he finally got hisog back.
Today, the same Stallone who had slept in the streets and sold his dog because he couldn’t afford to feed it anymore is one of the greatest movie stars who has ever walked the Earth.
Have you ever had a wonderful dream? But you were too broke to implement it? Too insignificant to do it? Too uneducated or unskilled to accomplish it? Personally, I’ve been there too many times, and know precisely what that feels like.
When my teachers in school told me to not expect much because of my learning difficulties, I insisted that I would one day be a famous writer. They called me “retarded and stupid.” When doctors claimed that I’d never amount to anything athletically, I dreamed of becoming a world martial art champion. They called me “lazy and fat-ass.”
I even had to eventually sell off everything, sleep on park benches and on friend’s couches, and went long days without food. Frankly, it sucked. But I did it anyway. And it feels like a real accomplishment to me because everyone said it would be impossible, and now, I’ve proven them wrong many times over.
Life is tough. Opportunities will pass you by, because others might think you’re a nobody. People will want your products but not you, and insist that you just sell out for a “better version” of a representative than you. It’s a tough world. If you’re not already wealthy, connected and well-positioned, then it’s going to seem unfairly rough. Doors will be shut on you. People will steal your glory and crash your hopes.You will push and push. And the worst thing of all will happen: NOTHING.
I’ve had nothing happen a lot.
Your hopes will be crashed.You will be broke. You will do odd jobs to survive. You may even be unable to feed yourself. And yes, you bet, you may end up sleeping in the streets.
It happens. Yes, it does.
But NEVER let them crush your dream. Whatever happens to you, keep on dreaming your dream. Even when they threaten to crush all hope, keep crawling toward that distant pinhole of destiny. Even when they push you down. Dream on.
Not only does NO ONE know what you’re truly capable of, YOU don’t even know what you’re fully capable of. You’ll be judged by your appearance, by your possessions, and family history, but you keep fighting. Just never give up.
Even if it means you have to sell your clothes and sleep on the benches, it’s going to be okay. If you’re breathing, there’s still hope. Your story isn’t over. It’s will start to crescendo. Trust me on that one.
Keep dreaming. Keep going. Write the next chapter in your own ink.