If there is one piece of advice I can offer you right now, it is this: Be you. Be original. Stop copying. Stop imitating. Stop chasing. Still your racing mind, and take stock of what you have to offer this world. Cry from your soul. Stop being who you are not, and simply be who you are.
If who you are is not good enough, get better. If your work is not original, tear it up. Start over. Tear it up again. Over and over. Until your blood does not bleed green with envy anymore, but bleeds a rich, luscious, vibrant, full-of-oxygen red. Until you bleed you.
This world has enough fakes and posers. More than enough. Unoriginality runs rampant through our streets like a virus, infecting all who are not strong enough to resist the siren call of false success. You do not have to be one more copy.
Avoid the “I never had a chance” folks. Don’t buy into their delusion. They will tell you sweeping stories of opportunities lost, of chances disappearing before their eyes like melting snowflakes, the winds of chance blowing away what they could have had. They are mistaken. They had a chance. Sadly, they lost it, or they were not strong enough to hang onto it. Give these people a hug and move on. They need your love, your sympathy, your understanding, but perhaps not your time or effort. These precious things are yours alone. Guard your moments. Give away what you should, and preserve what you must. Spend your time as if there is never enough of it. There never will be. This will all end one day and your screen will go dark.
Make your chance. Now. Today.
Remember this: very few people with a dream job or life started that way. Most started far lower, and worked and failed and worked and failed and worked and failed until they had a glimmer of success. And then they worked some more. And repeated that process again and again and again. In the wee hours, in the dark hours, in the “I’m so tired I just want to rest” hours. While others slept, while others played, while others only dreamed, the restless worked to get better until they were better. And then they kept working.
Know this: Success will not knock at your door until you bloody your knuckles knocking on the door of practice. And you may never find success. This is the chance you take. But you take it anyway because you love what you are doing. You crave it. You almost like it better than sex. Almost.
You have to not just want success; you have to earn success. No one can tell you the timetable, although many will try: “Do this, and then that will happen.” Bullshit. Your timetable, like great nutrition, is specific to you. You are feeding you. As much as you want to be like the others, you can’t be. You are an individual and so success will be individual to you. Right now, I have 224 drafts in my archives and 28 notebooks filled with writing. All or none of it may ever see the light of publication. That is the risk I take for getting the thoughts of my head. For being able to sleep without words waking me at night and whispering into my ear in the dark. This is the price I pay — this volume of effort that goes unseen — and I am happy to pay it. Another person may need 223 drafts and 27 notebooks. Or they may need only 1 and 1. I have heard some people get a muscle-up on their first try, or fall in love with the first girl they meet. Such is life.
But if you would be a success, I urge you to be this first: Original. Authentic. You.