It is better to risk starving to death then surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what's left? – Jim Carey
How many of you know Jim Carrey, either from his stand-up comedy or from his many successful films, including Dumb and Dumber, Mask, Liar Liar, The Truman Show, or A Series of Unfortunate Events? When you think of the elements that played the most vital role in his success you would probably mention talent, hard work, luck, maybe patience. You are hundred percent right but there is one more thing you are missing. Bear with to learn what is the one ingredient 99 percent of us are missing.
You might think that anyone as talented as Jim must had a great home background and went to a great school with plenty of money to afford the best of training. Think again.
It’s hard to believe that in his early years at school Jim was quiet and not very sociable. Before he became the Jim we all know he had to fight hard at school around his learning disability and dyslexia. In this struggle, he developed a phenomenal memory which turned out to be vital skill later in his stand up and acting carrier. Although his dad tended to encourage his craziness, his mom was alarmed and often sent him to his room. This just gave him more time to practice in front of the mirror.
Discovering that he could make friends by simply making people laugh, was his true turning point that would affect his entire future. Although we know how he turned out to be, the results of his discovery back then weren’t all that positive. At home, he thoroughly enjoyed making faces and mimicking in his mirror. In school, he was finishing his work first and then disrupting the rest of the class. That was his way of screaming for attention. So rather than discipline him for disrupting the class, one of his teachers asked him to put together an act and perform it for the class at the end of the school day, on the condition that he would do his work and not disturb the class. He thought this was a great idea and went along with it.
His ambitions and courage were on display when he began to think beyond just entertaining his fellow students. At age ten he sent his resume’ to actress Carol Burnette, hoping to be discovered. As we know it took him another few years to crawl to the top.
Money was another hurdle. His family lived in a rough district with lots of low-rent townhouses. By the tenth grade he was trying to juggle eight-hour night shifts at the factory with school during the day. He was so exhausted that he couldn't understand what his teachers were talking about. At that time, he didn't have any friends at school and he feared that anyone getting close might find out about his embarrassing poverty. Not having enough time to study nor to nurture school friendships he felt that school was not getting him anywhere. He called it quits at 16.
His family decided that their surroundings were taking them the wrong direction, so they packed up and moved to Canada with no job in sight. His parents and two siblings lived in a beat-up yellow Volkswagen camper van for a full eight months, parking in campgrounds. Feeling intellectually backward, inferior, embarrassed and experiencing hardships of poverty paved the way to his success by making him feel that he had to try harder than others. Lots of his creativity, as well as his remarkable willingness to take risks were born out of those moments desperation.
In 1983, Jim headed west to Hollywood where he starred playing small parts in television movies. He was another struggling young comic trying to make his way in Los Angeles. When he wasn’t doing anything in Hollywood, he was driving his old Toyota up to Mulholland Drive and sitting in his car. While sitting there looking at the city below and dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, dated it Thanksgiving 1995, added the notation “for acting services rendered” and carried it in his wallet from that day forth. On top of that he was saying to himself “Everyone wants to work with me. I’m a really good actor. I have all kinds of great movie offers.”
He would just repeat these things over and over, literally convincing himself that he had a couple of movies lined up. He’d drive down that hill, ready to take the world on, going, “Movie offers are out there for me, I just don’t hear them yet.” This total affirmation was his own way of dealing with stems from his family background.
Not so Dumb after all
His appearances in TV programs led to a main role on the hit comedy In Living Color. After many years, Jim’s optimism, tenacity and conviction eventually paid off. By 1995, after the huge box office success of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb & Dumber, his wage for a picture went up to $20 million.
Jim Carrey used his hard times and set-backs to motivate him to try harder. He channeled his energy to making something special out of his life. But my biggest take from his story is that he was so convinced of his self-worth, he had a very specific goal and was envisioning it on a daily basis. It’s not only about having a plan, goal or dream, it’s even more about engaging with that vision on emotional level and working on it every day. Create a vision for your life but don’t freeze on just hoping it’s magically going to happen. Nothing will ever happen if you won’t start putting it to work.
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