#009 | Every champion was a contender

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“Every champion was a contender that refused to give up.”

We’ve heard the triumphant stories of J.K. Rowling, Oprah, Steven King and Tyler Perry, but there are countless stories of people who were just like me and you one moment, who eventually became household names the next. I’d like to share a few with you that personally resonate with me.

Mindy Kaling is one of my favorite entertainers because she’s doing some of the exact things I’m working toward: writing, acting (including doing so in her own show), philanthropy and activism. But by Hollywood standards, Mindy isn’t what they would consider a “classic beauty.” She’s and Indian-American with dark skin and she’s not rail thin; she’s the type of actor that if she even got a part, she was usually subjected to irrelevant background or supporting roles at best because “leading ladies don’t look like her.” But Mindy has persevered to make her own way in an industry that is innately against her.

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After his first audition, Sydney Poitier, who grew up poor in the Bahamas, was told by a casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Poitier went on to win an Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” in 1964 and 1967’s super successful “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”

After being cut from his high school basketball team, a young Michael Jordan went home and cried in the privacy of his bedroom. But Jordan didn’t let this early-in-life setback stop him from playing the game and the basketball superstar has stated, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Sylvester Stallone was an underemployed actor with no money and job prospects. Things had gotten so bad, out of desperation he sold his dog outside of a liquor store for $50. In 1975, after watching a Muhammad Ali fight, wrote the script for Rocky. He tried to sell the script with the intention of playing the lead role. He turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars because studios were not willing to cast him as the lead; he was a complete unknown, and they wanted a well known star. However, months passed with enormous rejections from many producers, until eventually someone loved it and they agreed to do the movie.

He used part of his money to go get his dog back.

Think about it: are you a contender right now, but want to be a champion someday?

Today’s assignment: Today’s assignment is probably the hardest bit of homework you’ve ever had in your life: don’t give up. Don’t ever ever ever give up.
Check out the CREED trailer, the latest installment in the ROCKY franchise.

Today’s word is from the fictional character, Rocky Balboa from the movies, Rocky. As you probably know, Rocky became a worldwide commercial success and Oscar winner. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards in all, and went on to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing. The sequel, Rocky II was released a few years later and also became a major success. The film series has grossed more than $1.25 billion at the worldwide box office.

Click here for more stories about people who didn’t give up.