Once upon a time, there was a boy from America. He came from parents of modest means, and from a fairly nondescript area of the country. He was no one, from nowhere. He was shy and softspoken, but he loved stories. When he read stories, he felt that he knew the world, and he imagined himself as the heroes of those stories; able to meet the challenges of the world with a falshing eye, and nerves of steel. One day, when he was fourteen or fifteen, he agreed to assist with casting a high school musical as extra credit. His job was simple: read the lines of other characters as the more advanced students auditioned. As he worked, the Drama teacher noticed that the boy was reading the lines with passion that those auditioning didn't have, or at least, didn't present. The boy learned the next day that he had been cast as the lead of the show. He felt lightning coursing through his blood. His life had changed forever. Later, after many minor failures upon which he placed far too much importance, the boy became a young man. He wasn't sure what to do with his life. In spite of his many blessings, he was not happy. He did not know his reason for being. He asked a wise Doctor: “What should I do to be happy?” The Doctor tugged his beard and said, “Whatever it is that you want most, regardless of the cost. Even if you fail, you may rest easy knowing that you tried.” The young man took the Doctor's advice, and he began traveling all over the countryside, trying to once again find that feeling he had all those years ago when he had been cast in the lead of the high school musical. He drove all day and all night, in the little car that he could just barely afford. He slept in parking lots. He was cold. He often went hungry. He was told 'No' ten, a hundred, a thousand times. The young man cried often. He was very scared that he was wasting his life, and when his friends and family asked what he did, he was afraid to answer. And then, after what must have been the millionth audition, someone said 'Yes'. And the young man gave his heart and soul to the project, because it was what he wanted more than anything in the world. And then another person said 'Yes'. And another. They asked for tremendous amounts of work, and sweat; sometimes blood. The young man gave it, because he had found his passion. He had found his reason for being. In time, the young man found others who believed as he did. Others who held the same love that he did for the art. Sometimes the young man would go for long periods without working, but because he knew others like himself, he felt less alone. He wasn't crazy for wanting what he wanted; there was no reason to be afraid. The fact was simply that others weren't accustomed to seeing love displayed so openly. To love something openly is frightening. He continued to pursue his passion, in spite of any minor pitfalls. And he is writing to you now. Do you love your art? Does it feed you? Would you bleed for it, starve for it, weep for it? If the answer is 'yes', then you are on the right path. It is a beautiful path, which few have the courage to trod. It is something to be very proud of. The artist's path is often lonely. It is difficult, and it is terrible. 'Success' is a fluid notion. We are taught to judge our success against the successes of others. This is a fallacy. You are not them. The fact is, that success may not take the form that you think it should. Perhaps your success is something different than what you had planned. But if you seek that goal with courage and humility, and if you love it with all of your heart, no matter the challenges; then you cannot help but be successful. It is a long, and perilous road. But you can walk it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep the love in your heart.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela