Many of you know that I'm in a creative writing (screenwriting) MFA program which -- truth be told -- I've been quite miserable doing since I started in the fall 2014. I've always felt that I should be in something more "business-ey" like an MBA program but, for some odd reason, I signed up for this instead. However, since I'm in the last turn on the racetrack, it's too late to give up now. I have to finish what I started, even though it is robbing me of every thought of possibility that I had that I could actually do well in this business of screenwriting. However, all it's been doing is dream-stealing every moment I've been in this program.
I remember last year around this time having a "discussion" with a professor about outlining a script and asking about structure -- THEN bringing in my thoughts on Joe Eszterhas who wrote Basic Instinct in 13 days among several other kick-ass blockbuster hits and how he just...writes (without a strict outline) -- my professor stated: "Joe Eszterhas wouldn't be in a creative writing master's degree program." In which I thought (but didn't verbally express): Yes, because he's too f****** talented to be in one and if he WAS in one, he wouldn't have written so many hits. Instead his dreams would have been squashed like a water balloon before he got started.
Then yesterday I had a meeting with my professor (different than the one above). It's basically just a loose topic-free "sit down" where you can talk about anything you want. Or nothing at all. Completely up to you...or me in this case. I didn't even talk about myself through most of it. I have a young lady who is from the Midwest and she wants to try tackling the big bad world of Hollywood as -- strangely enough as the twist of fate goes -- a screenwriter. I asked how I can best support her dreams (since I'm quite jaded and cynical about the movie biz) while keeping her grounded in the "reality" of the business. All while, ideally, detouring her from ending up on a casting couch in the office of the latest Hollywood "producer." Yes, that stuff still happens!!
He gave me some decent advice. Nothing I couldn't have figured out on my own. Nothing I haven't told her already. All adult "logic" if you're over 40 and have been functioning on this planet without being holed up in a basement for long.
But this part is the kicker.
I asked him to write me a letter of recommendation.
"For what?" And before I answered...he went on to say..."Because your writing isn't --"
I cut him off there. I don't want to know how the (my) writing IS or ISN'T because another thing being over 40 has talk me is that when somebody starts a sentence with "because" it means they are trying to defend a polar OPPOSITE position than what you're asking about. And the sentence didn't sound like it was going down a path I wanted to venture down.
"A writing contest...or maybe for the Warner Brothers writing workshop. Forget about the writing then. Write the letter on my personality," I said.
"In that case, I can say that you're fierce, strong..." and on and on he went. All the while I'm thinking...what ISN'T right with "the writing" or, rather, MY writing? But I didn't want to know. I really didn't. This is where DREAM STEALING comes in. And it happens at every corner and juncture of the road. You must ALWAYS be on the lookout because it happens everywhere. Dream stealers are huddling in every crevice of your life. They exist at every turn. By people you know, people you look up to, family and friends...and, perhaps the worst kind, even yourself!
So, this is the time when a little adult perspective has to come into play. You see, before I asked him for the letter of recommendation, I asked him about why he's not a show-runner for a television show anymore. As far as I know, he used to be. But he's not anymore...and hasn't been for (gulp) decades? He's a teacher at 2 universities. And that's about it. As far as I can tell, a lot has changed in television writing since Love Boat or Gilligan's Island or whatever old-ass irrelevant show he used to write for. (I could easily check out his lengthy list of credits on IMDB.com but don't really have the interest in doing so.) When asking why he didn't climb back up the TV ladder to do it again he basically said that he was too tired, it was too much work, and it wasn't really worth it at this stage in his life at his age.
Hence, he created his own roadblock because he could easily run a show, making millions a year. Instead, he's resigned to "I'm too old" and "it's just too hard." Thus, he toggles between 2 jobs at 2 universities to scrape together his rent in his new New York apartment. Pittance because he has every credential and bit of experience to be a shoo-in for that type of job even though he's resigned to believing that he's simply "too old." So, why try? He basically admitted that he just gave up.
At what "age" are we supposed to just give up? And is this the age where we start holding people down to our level because we consciously decided that our dreams are over? And why isn't that considered criminal behavior when we tear apart the fragile and hopeful dreams of another because we've simply given up on ourselves?
And here's another thought for you? Define "talent" and good writing. You don't have to be an Eminem fan here but go with me on this one. If you ever sat and listened to one of his rap songs -- even going so far as to write down the lyrics -- they're pretty lame but they're heavily personal which make them work. They also work with the beat, the music, the delivery, and the whole package. But what's most notable about Eminem is that he fought his way to the top and fought his way to stay there. It's all about the fight. Fighting for what you want with intense burning desire. And never giving up when some schlep-rock tells you that you have no talent. Or that you can't do it. Or that you're no good. And you keep going with confidence, knowing that you ARE good. That you ARE great. And that makes all the difference!
And as they ALWAYS say...CONSIDER THE SOURCE.
I remember reading something years ago about how this young talented ballerina had met with a well-respected, well-known ballet choreographer in a hallway. She asked him if she had talent and began to dance. He basically told her to not bother because she had no talent. So she quit! Two decades later she ran into the same guy with spit and venom, asking if he remembered her (which he didn't), then blaming him for destroying her dream twenty years before. He said something to the effect of, "If you'd let anyone tell you that you couldn't be successful and you gave up on that account then you weren't cut out to be successful in this business to begin with. Because great artists don't give up on the count of what somebody tells them, no matter who they are, no matter what they say. They keep going no matter what. And that's what makes them great. And that's what makes them successful. They never give up!" And he walked away, leaving her stunned, and thinking about the senseless decision she made as a very young woman so many years before. A decision she can never take back, as it's much too late now.
Dream stealing happens in many forms, really. It can be as obvious as "that's the stupidest business idea I've ever heard" to not as obvious like a sideways glance of slight disapproval as your spouse says, "yeah, that' sounds...great, honey..." with no emotion or enthusiasm whatsoever.
But let's be real. You're your own biggest dream stealer. Yes you. YOURSELF. Because you are the direct (and only) filter between you and the exterior dream-stealers. You get to allow the negative comments sink in and control your destiny. Or not. Ideally, you'll STOP getting these people's opinions UNLESS they're much more successful than you.
Because here's a secret...
Most (and when I say "most" I mean about 99%) of successful people will offer HUGE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT on whatever idea, plan, or dream you have...no matter the idea, plan or dream you tell them about. You could tell any of them that you want to be the "River Rafting King of the World" and they would quickly and almost instantly grin while saying, "Yeah, that sounds freaking fantastic. You can do it. Go out there and conquer the world!" And that alone could push you over that "edge" you need to be pushed over to finally start taking some action to do it. And ACTION, my friends, is the single most important recipe for success.
On the flip-side, my "minor" in my graduate program is non-fiction writing. And it's run by a New York Times Bestselling author who stays relevant in the game of writing, constantly turning out new books. She is one of the most positive people I've met despite some of the major trials and tribulations she's face including losing a child to a rare disease. I could write the biggest pile of crap and turn it in and she'll give me A LOT of words of encouragement. Anytime I leave a meeting after seeing her, I feel like I'm a WRITING GOD and that I truly CAN conquer the world of printing, press, and publishing.
She is not a dream stealer. She is a VERY RARE dream promoter.
You need a dream promoter like that, too. You need to feel like you're not alone, that you can do this, that you're on track, and that you're making progress. Otherwise, you're just "out there" swimming around randomly with the "hopes" that you'll be successful one day. All the while, fending off the daily dream-stealers with a club until (and unfortunately) one day you cave into their verbal dream bashing and say, "You're right. I'm never going to amount to anything."
And that will be the saddest moment in your life because that will be the day you die, even if it takes many years thereafter to physically pass away. When your dreams die, you die along with it at that very moment. Even if you remain a walking zombie until your real funeral takes place. What difference does it make then if you live another year or 20 years if you feel that you have nothing more to live for anymore?
I have a mastermind group where you can watch your dreams of entrepreneurship and investing massively flourish, not because you're finally getting the positive support that you've been internally craving all these years but because you'll be given actionable step-by-step blueprints of the newest and most cutting-edge strategies on both Aggressive and Passive Income Strategies. And this will be happening EVERY MONTH to keep you committed, engaged, and accountable until you become successful and beyond.
Here's the link to check out a video I put together for you: www.ViperWealth.com
On the second page, there's another video which outlines the program and how it works.
Why this? Why now?
I feel that it's time to start bringing my students together once and for all and to cut the wheat from the chaff with my students. I've had students that have been with me for...forever, some of them. And then know everything I've taught yet then need MORE. More as in more access, more trainings, more workshops, more partnership opportunities, more cutting-edge strategies...MORE. And I finally have MORE for you.
And if for a second you DON'T think you need this, think about this: Are you happy with where you are now? Has anything significant happened to you in the past year on the financial side? If you've said NO to either question then it means that there is a DISCONNECT between you actually getting the information but not APPLYING the information. And that needs to change. Like NOW, today! Right at this moment.
Check out this link now: www.ViperWealth.com
Don't keep being your own dream-stealer.
See you at the top!