Pele & Enthusiasm

“Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string”.

– Pele.

How’s that for a nice simple quote? And so true, as well. I’ve met very few inspiring or successful people who weren’t enthusiastic – how many have you met?

It reminds me of a phone call I had with my uncle in the USA not too long ago. We were talking about the course I was studying at the time – Journalism – and he said something really simple that left an impact.

Sometimes, when you reflect on things, the quotes that stick with you the longest are the simplest.

We were basically talking about the people on my course and who would do well. And he told me that those who tried the hardest, those who were the most enthusiastic, would do the best. And that it was like that with many things in life.

He was right.

I  mean – it’s obvious isn’t it, really?

If you try hard and if you’re enthusiastic about something you’re good at you’ll do well…

It’s really obvious.

But then my question is, to so many creatives out there, you know you’re good…why aren’t you maximising that to do well at what you love? Life is a game and you have to milk the gifts you get.

I know and have met too many talented people who don’t give themselves the shot they deserve. I know this whole post seems obvious, but sometimes in their day-to-day people forget the obvious and they need reminding!

Oh…and here’s Pele being good at stuff…

You can learn something from Hugh Grant

When I was a kid I was an enthusiastic actor. Nativity plays, Christmas specials, summer shows – I always tried to steal the show, and usually succeeded.

I wish I’d have pursued it more back then but, alas, it wasn’t to be.

I became an awkward teenager and an ensuing lack of confidence robbed me of my drama skills. I did end up auditioning for a play at school when I was about fourteen and succeeded in landing the role of  ‘Bush #2’.

I never knew that there were talking bushes in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ – but I landed the role and got to deliver one whole line of dialogue. 

My acting career did have a revival in my early twenties, however. I won a role in several short films and even got a small part in a feature length production – ticking off a life goal in the process.

fh
(There I am, making my feature length debut as a cocky drug dealer)

Whenever I spoke about acting I was always asked who my inspiration was.

People always laughed at my initial reply…and then waited for the ‘real answer’.

But it was no joke – the man who got me interested in acting was Hugh Grant.

Sure, he plays the same character in (nearly) every film, and his career peaked in the 1990s.

But…he has an estimated net worth of £60 million.

Pretty good for a one trick pony, isn’t it?

Now, while it’s good to experiment…it’s also good to have a winning formula and stick to it.

As a creative you should feel free to broaden your horizons when the chance arises but remember what you’re best at.

Which is why I spend my spare time writing and not acting.

Although if there’s a role going let me know and I’ll pencil in an audition…

This too shall pass.

 “This too shall pass”.

It’s a simple sentence, but a very powerful one when you think about it. It’s certainly one we should all bear in mind as we trundle (or speed) through our day-to-day.

Many, many moons ago there was a great ruler who lived in a grand castle. He had everything he wanted.

Banquets, riches and the adoration of his community.

Yet…even though he had all he should want he wasn’t always happy… 
(I bet some of you can relate).

So, as great rulers tend to do when they have a problem, he asked his most valued subjects to help him out.

He wanted them to create something that would make him happy. For some reason or another he decided that this should be in the form of a ring.
(Perhaps he just opened the Argos catalogue at a random page, and went from there).

He gave them the following brief: the ring had to make him happy when he was sad. 

As you can imagine there was a lot of head-scratching – as is usually the case with vague briefs.

They consulted engineers, philosophers, carpenters, academics – anyone who might be able to give them some inspiration.
(oh, how difficult the world was before Google or Pinterest!)

Eventually, as you’ll have probably guessed, the phrase they engraved into the ring was:
“this too shall pass”.

They presented it to him with baited breath…and sighed with relief once they saw that he was pleased.

It worked well. Whenever he felt annoyed, angry or sad – he just looked at his ring and it reminded him that everything was temporary. The storm cloud that hung over his head began to wither and disappear.

But then…sometimes when he was happy, he’d accidentally look at his ring and it would dawn on him that happiness and success don’t last forever either.

It was a real double-edged sword. It could take him from sad to happy, and from cheerful to downbeat.

There’s a lesson in here for all of us to take away.

badday

When things go wrong and when, in the words of Daniel Powter, we have a ‘bad day’ – we know that it’ll pass. The storm cloud above our own heads will eventually go, and the sun will creep up over the metaphorical horizon.

But…

…it also means that when we  are happy and when we are successful, those days when the sun seems to shine just that bit brighter and we feel a few inches taller, we need to really value those moments.

Because they too will pass.

‘Tis a shame, but as Frank Sinatra once said, “that’s life!”

Keep your chin up when things aren’t going right, and take every reflective moment you can to drink in the good times when you’re in them.

Inspirational Places

What does travel do?

It doesn’t just make you skint, doesn’t just make you have to book valuable days off work and it doesn’t just leave you jetlagged & sunburnt.

It opens doors for new experiences that carve out memories you’d never think you’d have.

There’s a world outside your comfort zone and, as a creative, you should take the chances (as and when they come) to broaden your horizons.

tram

When I was younger I didn’t believe in holidays, although I think that was mostly just because I couldn’t afford them.

My reasoning was that it was a waste of money and what was the point in paying for memories? After all you can’t do anything with memories, what’s the point in paying for an experience that will be over soon? Why not just splash the money on material things?

How wrong I was. Sometimes you meet people and you unlock life hacks and secrets that change your thinking for the better.

But that’s the thing…the things you think you know when you’re younger, aren’t always as true as they seem when you look back at them with fresh, older eyes.

So if you feel a bit stuck, as if you can’t find inspiration anywhere you should step outside your door and find a plane going somewhere you like the sound of.

The featured image is of the city of Budapest. A place full of beauty, adventure and dangerously good wine.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Have you seen the film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness‘?

If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Will Smith stars as struggling salesman, who’s trying to make ends meet for his wife and young son.

Luck doesn’t go his way, and he falls into a downward spiral – which hits a climax when he winds up homeless.

Things get so bad that he ends up sleeping in a public toilet cubicle one night. His young son lying beside him.

But, rather than feel sorry for himself (I wouldn’t blame him if he was), he looks for opportunity and clinches an internship as a broker in the city. It’s not a paid gig sadly, and it’s so competitive that only one person will end up with a full-time role.

What I like about Will Smith’s character in the film is that he continually visualises success. He knows that, given the right moment and chance, he can do it. It’s his belief that wins the audience over, and ultimately wins his employers over.

And I ask you, as an aspiring creative…how often do you visualise the success you want?

Whether you want to be the next Stephen King, the next Picasso or just a cool designer who has an office that overlooks a city skyline.

Whatever you’re doing right now, take a moment to visualise the success you want. I know it sounds cheesy, but if you don’t know what your destination looks like…how can you get there? How can you know that you’re making progress if your path is murky and blurred?

I once heard about a guy who visualises success so much that when he’s driving he pretends that he’s being interviewed about his novels and speaks about them as if he’s talking to an interviewer.

Ahem…I promise you that guy isn’t me…

by Ashley Brown 2017