George Clooney was so broke during his struggling days as an actor that he stayed in his friend’s closet in Los Angeles.
The singer Jewel briefly lived out of her car as she played smaller gigs.
Jon Hamm, of Mad Men, once worked as a soft-core porn movie set designer.
Tina Fey worked the front desk at a suburban Chicago YMCA during the day while doing standup in small coffee shops at night.
Movie mogul Tyler Perry lived on the streets of Atlanta and was perpetually broke when writing his first plays.
The most creative people often have a backstory riddled with struggle, hardship, and uncertainty. The irony is when they finally “make it big,” that’s all anyone wants to hear about—What was it like to struggle? How did you find the courage to keep going?
I believe we’ve got struggling all wrong. Struggling doesn’t mean we’re misaligned with our passion, or that we haven’t discovered the right life hack. Rather, struggling is a legitimate part of our refining and maturation process.
We could even argue that struggling helps us evolve more than success. And that, at the very least, it can be a test to see just how badly we want what we claim is in our heart.
One day, a long time from now, the stories of your “success” are going to be sourced from whatever struggles you’re currently experiencing. You will use those stories to show how far you came. And in the process, you will help and inspire a lot of people to keep going. This is why it’s important to view your entire journey—the successes and the hardships—as perfect.
Happy birthday, George.