“He who is not courageous enough to take a risk will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
Why does a man look up to the sky, see the moon and stars and yearns to go there? They are already there.
Why does a man climb a mountain? It is there.
Why does Man still plan to go to Mars, despite never launching a manned space mission? Mars is there.
Everything in life has an element of risk. To move forward in life, one has to take a risk. Stepping outside of one’s front door each day has an element of risk. No one knows what is likely to happen. You may never return. It has happened to people less fortunate sadly.
When I embarked on what some perceived as the folly of an acting career, prostitutes, thieves and swindlers got a better press and an easier time. The above would have put many people off pursuing the same goal and give up. But I came from a family background where such things were a daily occurrence. I had a mother who saw me as a constant reminder of a husband she divorced and discarded but I had no such luck so put up with twenty-five years of mental and emotional abuse at her hands, those of her partners and my four younger siblings. So dealing with harshness, criticisms and put downs is nothing new. I stopped listening decades ago. Why what I do should instil such fear, derision and criticism in people who have no interest in me, let alone what I do and aspire to has always bothered me, until I discovered what the issue was and here it is:-
Some people can see further than others. Some people are pressed by their limitations, yet some can see further than others so therefore when people judge them by their own logic and standards, the sums don’t add up. It can’t be done, their knowledge of history such as it is, says it can’t be done. So their reason, their knowledge, their history, their logic clashes with my own (superior) belief. And every which way they look, reason and think, the result is the same – it cannot be done. They don’t believe. Funny when one considers the above. I am not preaching from a hymn book, nor a pulpit. I am just one man in a world of billions of people pursuing a goal, a dream. And yet, it instils fear, division and criticism in people – Many who probably have never taken a risk, beyond stepping outside of their front door each day.
Let me be frank about me. I have high standards and expect more of myself, than anyone can possibly imagine – let alone naysayers and dream stealers telling me what I am not capable of. And that includes so-called family members. I don’t have to see or speak to them, to know how little they think of me. Jesus Christ once said ‘a prophet is revered everywhere but in his own house.’ What he meant was a man who dares to do something different will achieve far more recognition everywhere but the place he grew up and was raised. I have fan mail and emails requesting signed photographs to prove my point.
Then one comes to those who know nothing about you. This person, probably has done the same job, lived in the same neighbourhood but is not even known in the place where they live. Wherever they go, wherever they may live, no one really knows them – They have never taken a risk or done anything of worth. I know these people because I was one of them until I dared to take a risk, I dared to dream. Even worse, I dared to put those dreams into action. I began to dream those things into reality. What I am doing looks dangerous to them. The competition, the uncertainty, little or no money involved – The wrong background and skin colour to succeed in the British Film and Television industry – I have heard it all, the fear, derision and criticism. All from people who have no interest, vested or otherwise in what I do.
All I am doing is aiming higher, climbing higher and as a result, I am looking further than most people. I am thinking on a level higher than most people. I am not thinking like them, because I am not them.
I have met many successful people, many creative people with a similar mind-set to my own. I once had a girlfriend from Bulgaria who thought on that higher level and she is now a fashion designer, running her own business, achieving success on her terms. She had her struggles but never lost belief in herself and achieved her dreams.
Acting has played a major part of my life for the past fourteen years. I have had more failures than successes but then I am still learning because I learn nothing from success (it is so fleeting,) but far more from my failures – of which there are many. I stopped measuring myself against success because in truth I don’t know what success is. All I can do is show you my professional life – What I can do rather than competing for every job I audition for. Sometimes I step off and do something different – not because I have given up but rather to hold the dream, command the dream, the goal, rather than chasing every acting job going – in the vain hope they will make me ‘Successful’.
Knowing who I am, where I am at and what I am about, is far more important to me than what others may think. Who I am, what I am and what people think of me is none of my business. I have better things to do and more productive ways of spending my time and energies. I have a life, I am happy, I am more content and positive in my outlook on life and the lessons I have learned from my life and personal experiences. I no longer have any fear of uncertainties in this life.
That is why I do the things I do.