You may have attempted to start a venture of some sort or tried to pursue a dream — and failed. You may have lost a loved one, an opportunity, or a chance at loving someone you love. You may have lost something valuable to you, or had to give something up because of your family or financial restrictions. You may have been hit by disappointments, negativity, haters, people that don’t understand you, or have cheated you. You may have chosen a career path you are not happy with, or have lost your job. These times are not like others, though the cycle does repeat itself. Do not compare yourself to previous generations, because you will only be cheating yourself. I’m here to tell you that it is OK. Join the club. There are legions of others who have suffered, and are still suffering, just like YOU. It’s a slow climb because times are changing, so keep climbing and you will eventually get THERE.
You may have control of your life, but you cannot control your environment. You can’t control the economy, trends, family circumstances, accidents, unexpected expenses, and the weather — of life. You can’t control other people and their moods, personal situations, and their issues. You can’t control biases or changes in your industry of choice. You can’t even control jealousy and envy in others. However, you can control your own STRENGTH and desire to get back up and START AGAIN.
I’m now 34. I’ve succeeded in a lot, but have also failed in tons of projects I’ve put my whole heart into building. For instance, my latest film project in Egypt collapsed because I got snaked by crooked writers and producers — including the government. I lost my publisher and agent because I failed to meet their given deadline for publication because I was so engrossed in the development of my film. Then, all of a sudden my world came crashing like dominoes because I put all my eggs into one basket, and neglected everything else — including my family, friends, and my love life. Yet, like always, I get back up right away to BUILD AGAIN.
Again, I only preach from experience. I’ve suffered so many losses and deaths in my world that my overall toll of negative experiences is considered quite unusual for someone my age. Yet somehow, I believe I was created to suffer so that I can share with others what I have learned from my ongoing predicaments — to benefit others. After all, the best wisdom arrives to those that have suffered. With suffering, one can either turn cold and inward, or outward, giving, and compassionate.
This lesson is a simple one.
Even though I lose A LOT, I equally gain in measure. I’ve learned that, those opportunities I pass up on, or pass up on me, including all those doors that slammed in my face, and also, relationships that suddenly evaporated — are truly blessings in disguise, as they say. It is true. That guy who passed up on me, didn’t matter to me a year later when numerous (way more stellar) guys came my way. Why? Because I stopped caring about finding THE ONE. I just opened my eyes and enjoyed life — instead of giving up on life and crying. Everything DOES happen for a reason — if you believe it. And after I lost that film opportunity, another one presented itself to me 3 days before I left Egypt — with financing from the richest man in the country! Unfortunately, I haven’t even started to seek out another publisher yet, and instead, I went island jumping, indulged on a pizza rampage up and down the east coast, flew out to Arizona to spend time with family, took up falconry, started assembling a TV series, and somehow…my current carefree, aimless attitude, just seems to BRING MORE OPPORTUNITY MY WAY. I don’t care if anything succeeds or not — as long as I have a steady stream of passion flowing through me. I’m a rolling stone. Aimless, and with no direction at all. And you know what? I’m finally loving life!
So what I’m saying is…JUST FLOW WITH IT. Don’t take life so seriously. Anything you want to do…JUST DO IT. Don’t look right or left to see what others are doing and constantly compare yourself to their success — or failures. And when they say to you to model yourself after those you admire, do it but don’t think that the path they took will also work for you. TIMING, is an important environmental factor in any venture or pursuit. When I was living in L.A, I killed myself trying to push myself to be like Steven Spielberg. He made JAWS in his early 20s, so when I turned 27 I became so miserable and disappointed in myself that I couldn’t follow his lead that I fell into a deep depression for what seemed like forever. Scorcese, Coppola, Lucas — all made their best pictures in their early 20s. Now it’s rare in my generation to find any filmmaker who nailed a successful film in that age range — unless their last name belonged to any of the above, or knew them. TIMING is as important as the changing TIMES. Now, you will hear on NPR a radio host say, “And he made his debut film at the young age of 36!”.
Times ARE changing!
If your business failed, try again. You may be sad to find someone JUST NOW starting a business you already tried, and learn that theirs is successful, while you lucked out. TIMING.
You may have been on track towards a dream when you suddenly got hit by family responsibilities or sudden financial constraints that forced you away from your chosen path, but don’t worry. Something good is up ahead. Just open your eyes and be alert. Just don’t expect immediate rewards to come at you right away. Divine gifts and intervention happen when you are unaware of what is happening. These are actions that happen to you for you to fulfill a purpose, learn a lesson, to reach your destiny. Some don’t believe in fate. But I am here to tell you, that even an ant has a fate that was cosmically written. All life on this earth is relevant. We are here to teach and learn from each other. It is part of our evolution. Your losses, will teach you how not to lose again, to strike harder, or elsewhere…in simplest terms.
Life is about overcoming strains and drains. It’s about finding out who you really are and what you can achieve throughout the obstacle course. And in the end, it is about sharing what you have learned. So, you can choose to wallow in your many disappointments, or live carefree like me. I do what I want to do to be happy – without measuring myself to anything or anyone. I simply don’t care anymore. Why should I? If I fall into debt, nobody is going to rescue me like a dream fairy. If I succeed, all the phonies of the earth are going to flock to me like flies to be my friend. Fail or succeed, TRUTH is only in YOU…and those one or two allies that would sincerely help you through thick or thin. LIVE FOR YOU. I’m not saying be selfish, or “I” oriented. Not at all. I’m saying, JUST BE. Live morally and ethically – but without restrictions, measurements, standards or limitations. FLY any direction you want to fly with no fear of being shot down! If you do go down, wipe the dirt off, grab better wings, and FLY AGAIN.
I keep what means most to me CLOSE and recognize my responsibilities. I don’t neglect them, or curse at God for having them. I deal with what I have to – the obstacles. I have also learned to never blame others for my own failures. If I fail at something, I just pick up a new project or dream, or simply try again — at my own pace, when I feel like it.
So, if you feel trapped in life, or feel like you are not living up to your expectations or standards, meeting your dreams, goals, or doing what you want to do…DO IT. Don’t abandon what means most to you to do anything – just find BALANCE. Once you master the balancing act, you will find yourself closer to happiness. IT WORKED FOR ME.
If your job or relationship suffocates you, don’t fear change. If you fear change, you fear life. LIFE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PREDICTABLE. That is the sheep mentality and the mentality that was imposed on us. Life is about exploring new territories, discovering more about ourselves — and TRUTH. It’s about expanding, moving forward, changing, and smiling as much as crying. Now, take what life is about from the section above and include with it with what is in this section — and I give you LIFE in its entirety. If you want to paint, start today. There is no set start date or age limit. If you want to be a lawyer or child psychiatrist, I know many successful ones who returned to school at 40 and 50 and did just that. Those that impose limitations on their dreams and desires, are only dying slow deaths. Believe me.
When you are not LIVING because of limitations you put on yourself — it is YOUR FAULT. When you are not living because of environmental limitations, then simply START again. The pyramids were not built overnight, or correct the first time. It took several attempts. The law of probability states that for every 100 doors you knock on, one or two may open. So keep knocking. Keep trying. Keep on keeping on! The force is with you. Success comes either through luck (timing), or perseverance. Aim for the second, and lightly hope for the first. Either way, neither will work if you choose to do nothing.
Don’t live for others and don’t live to impress others. Live only for yourself and those that matter most to you. Don’t change for ANYBODY. Always stay true to you. You may be forced to care for an elder parent or sick sibling. You may be forced to care for a child or assume the added responsibilities of a neglectful spouse. You may be forced to take on a job just to sustain a living while you pursue your dream! DO IT. Find a way to balance your obligations so you can also roll freely to achieve your own personal success story. Most successful people STRUGGLED until they became successful. Success comes with strides. So if you are forced to start again! START AGAIN. Start again, before you take your last breath. Do whatever you want to do and DO IT. Only then, are you truly LIVING.
Use your heart to choose your destiny. Use your mind to develop the plan on how you will pursue the journey there. Not the other way around. NEVER ignore your heart. Again, your soul will never forgive you. Then build! And keep building.
Keep planting and spreading the seeds for your gardens of tomorrow.