Sylvester Stallone is regarded as one of the most successful actors of the last 4 decades and can command up to $20 million a movie but very few people know about his very inspiring success story.
Sylvester Stallone’s story is one of rejection, struggle, persistence, overcoming odds and definiteness of purpose and there is definitely something you can learn from the man so keep reading…
Stallone had crystal clarity on what he wanted. He wanted to be an actor but it wasn’t going to come easy for him.
His first obstacle standing in front of him was that fact that the lower left part of his jaw was paralysed, which not only gave him a unique expression but also slurred speech.
Agents laughed at him and he was rejected over 1000 times because of his disability. Let me repeat that – rejected over 1000 times!
But that didn’t stop a broke and struggling Sylvester Stallone. He was determined to achieve his goal.
“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” – Sylvester Stallone
To keep paying the bills he even went as far as stealing his wife’s jewellery and selling it. Not long after he found himself homeless and sleeping at the New Jersey bus terminal for 3 weeks.
Things got so bad for him that he had to sell his best friend, his dog, to some random guy at a liquor store for a measly $25 because he couldn’t afford to feed him. Stallone loved his dog and walked away from the sale crying.
Upon watching a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner Stallone got an idea for a movie script and immediately took action. He didn’t sleep the entire weekend and wrote for 20 hours straight until it was complete.
His plan was to play the lead in the movie so that he could get his big break into acting but again faced massive rejection.
Producers laughed at him, saying it would never make a good movie, especially with him playing the lead however yet again Sylvester Stallone persevered until he found one producer who wanted the script. The problem was they didn’t want him as the lead. They even went as far as to him $225,000 to use the script providing he wasn’t in the movie.
Again Sylvester Stallone knew exactly want he wanted; he wanted to be a successful Actor at all costs and so rejected the deal despite being dead broke.
Eventually the producers agreed to buy the script and let him play the lead actor but only for $35,000.
The movie “Rocky” written by and starring Sylvester Stallone was released in 1976 and went on to gross $225 million in the global box office.
The movie won 3 Oscars for best picture, best directing and best film editing. Sylvester Stallone was nominated for best actor.
Rocky was also entered into the American National Film Registry as one of the greatest movies ever.
The rest as they say is history. The Rocky franchise has since produced another 5 films alone whilst Sylvester Stallone has acted in a number of other blockbusters.
“I am not the richest, smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeed because I keep going and going and going.” – Sylvester Stallone
But That’s Not All
I left out the part that when Stallone received his initial $35,000 for the script he immediately went back to the liquor store to buy back his dog. He went there 3 days in a row until he found the man he sold his dog to and ended up paying $15,000 to buy him back. His dog, Butkus also got to star in Rocky movie with Stallone.
Sylvester Stallone was successful because he knew exactly what he wanted. Most people would have accepted $225,000 for a script if they were broke, but he wanted to become a successful Actor and stuck to his guns.
Despite experiencing massive rejection for his disability and even for his script he never gave up. He never stopped believing in himself when agents laughed at him and told him he would never make it or even when he ended up homeless for weeks, he persevered and kept going.
He took immediate action on his idea for the Rocky screenplay and he used it as an alternative road to reach his ultimate destination.
He found another way to get to where he ultimately wanted and if you’re currently in a similar situation take inspiration from Sly and find another way. Believe in yourself, take action and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.
“Life is not about how hard of a hit you can give…It’s about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward” – Sylvester Stallone
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