The difference: two people start in the same place, but only one “makes it.”

Via elephant journal
on Jan 7, 2014
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Note: as an entrepreneur and dreamer and someone who wants to be of service, I found the example above interesting. I don’t see any mention below (tracing their career trajectories) that Noah was less worthwhile or happy as a human being, which is what is most important. That said, Clooney, with his contributions to Darfur, general class and sense of humor about himself, has made it by any definition.

This quote via Esquire has nothing to do with worthwhileness. It’s simply an instructive tale of how entrepreneurs and dreamers can help ourselves to fulfill those dreams through sacrifice and exertion.

Just read something pretty inspiring about “making it.”

Thought this was interesting for anyone like you or me who wants to make it, make it big, make a difference: what’s the difference between two people who start int he same place, but only one makes it? Obviously lots of factors, including “luck,” but:

From Esquire, on George Clooney: 

He and Noah Wyle shared a lot of things, at the start. They shared a break—being cast on a show that became as popular as ER. They shared the advantage of being the charismatic characters on a show anchored dutifully by Anthony Edwards. They shared an interest in liberal causes. They even wound up sharing an assistant, Angel. She worked for Wyle for two years; now she works for Clooney, and she knows better than anyone what made them, in the end, so different.

It wasn’t just the course—the outcome—of their careers. It wasn’t just the fact that Wyle never really made it to the movies and Clooney never looked back once he left television. It wasn’t even that Wyle didn’t get lucky and Clooney did.

It was that Clooney became a guy gracious enough to ascribe all that came to him as a matter of luck—while holding an ingrained conviction that nothing is ever
really accidental.

“It was a hard, hard job, ER. We were working sixteen-hour days, five days a week. We were learning Latin, you know, to do the show. But you knew that you were never going to get a second chance to introduce yourself to a wide audience. And I was thirty-three. I wasn’t the young one there; I was the oldest one there. So I knew this was my opportunity. I think all the actors were given a bit of an opportunity that summer on a film. I think every one of them was given an opportunity. And I think most of them were so exhausted from the work that they wanted their summer off.

“In fairness, they were also doing a lot. I had the smallest part in the show. And when [Robert Rodriguez’s] Dusk till Dawn came around . . . well, it was a great part for me, because it was a complete departure. And that movie changed everything for me, temperaturewise. It made it so I was going to be allowed to do some films, you know?”

It was one of the choices that Clooney made and Wyle didn’t. But it wasn’t the most important choice. The most important choice was the choice not to do something—the choice not to make a choice that Wyle eventually did.

“George made a conscious decision not to have a family, because he was hungry,” Angel says. “Also, Noah was young and could take things for granted. George never did. George paid cash for all his houses, because he thinks that will protect him if it all goes away. Look, Grant Heslov is his writing and producing partner now. But he also is the guy who, when they were first starting out together, lent George a hundred dollars so that George could have his publicity stills made. That kind of thing still really matters to George.”
Read the rest: George Clooney Interview – George Clooney Talks About Matt Damon Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio – Esquire


Relephant bonus:


Of course, what’s most important is that we live our lives truly, fully, and are of benefit:

the True Meaning of Success. {video}



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7 Responses to “The difference: two people start in the same place, but only one “makes it.””

  1. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Look what you miss when you live at a meditation center for 4 years and then follow it up with a 3 year retreat! But seriously, it's fun to see Clooney young, but entertainment is over-rated vicarious living!

  2. I was having a conversation about this recently, as the issue comes up for women often too: can you "have it all"? I think the trouble comes when we let someone or something external define what "all" is, or what making it looks like. Is Clooney more of a success because of his choices? It depends what you are using to measure success.

  3. Waylon Lewis says:

    Again, that's not what we're talking about, above. We're not measuring life success–that would be rather condescending and stupid, frankly–how can we know? One can only know for oneself. If we were to measure life success, I would base that on happiness, or cheerfulness, community involvement…well you, Kate, put up a great old blog that definese happiness by six measurements, and they're pretty good ones.

    The above was talking simply about making it in a career sense, but I found it applicable and inspiring re entrepreneurship or ambition or dreams, and my dreams happen to be about being of service, the Bodhisattva path, or more generally being of benefit. And so the above can inspire that. Sacrifice and focus help!

  4. Waylon Lewis says:

    Most of it is, but some of it is art, and inspiring to our lives. 😉 (Hey ma)

  5. Waylon Lewis says:

    Here's your blog–which I just coincidentally re-shared last night 🙂

  6. Oh absolutely! I was more responding to Esquire's take on it (and the same rhetoric in other publications) than the way you've framed it.

  7. Melina says:

    That makes sense that appreciating and seizing the opportunity makes a difference. I know that when or if I get a second chance in life I am going for it with my all.