Inspiring story found on TV.
Originally published 2003
Vin Diesel was on the Leno show, promoting his box office hit, “Triple XXX”. (After seeing the previews for it, I bought “Fast and Furious”, just because it had Vin Diesel in it. Outstanding movie, in which Vin Diesel plays the starring role.)
On that show, he told the story of when he was in Los Angeles, trying to get an acting role, but having a hard time, because he had no big roles behind him to prove himself. It was the old chicken and egg — you need experience to get hired, and you need to get hired to get experience.
So for several months he sold light bulbs over the phone. That was a story in itself. He called people all over the country, and instantly engaged them in conversation. With his ability to emphasize, his ability to act, and his genuine love of people, he became a good friend who listened, understood, and commisserated with his contact at the other end of the line. Those folks bought light bulbs not, as Diesel said, because the bulbs were any good, but because they were friends.
After 5 months of long days and hard work, he and a friend had saved up $45,000. But instead of buying a car or anything of that sort, he and his friend went back to New York and put the money into making a movie.
That movie became his calling card. It was the reference he needed to launch his career, and it catapulted him into becoming a star. Looking directly at the audience and the cameras, Vin Diesel summarized the moral of the story, just to make it clear: “Invest in Yourself”.
The fact that he was using his time on national TV to inspire and educate others was, by itself, impressive. And the story truly was inspiring. But mentally, I revised his moral to “Invest in Your Dreams”.
You see, I’ve believed in the motto, “Invested in Yourself”, my whole life. But instead of focusing my energies, it divided and dispersed them. I’ve learned to play dozens of sports, games, and engaged in countless hobbies. I’ve spent a fortune on sports equipment, musical instruments, computer equipment, lessons of every kind, and self-help books. Because darn near everything is good for you in some way, and there are a ton of ways to spend your money.
At one point, I did realize that investing in “productivity tools” always paid off. Whether it was a better computer chair or a better ratcheting wrench, tools always made it possible to do more, more easily. But that realization didn’t stem the tide of spending. It only prioritized it, somewhat.
However, at one point in my martial arts training, I reached a critical awareness that was both the goal of, and the culmination of, the years I spent becoming a Jung SuWon black belt.
That awareness was, “You are Your Dreams”. That person you dream of becoming, that vision you hold of who could be, if only this, if only that — that person is who you really are, inside — regardless of who you are on the outside,
So, when Vin Diesel spoke, I suddenly realized that the right rule to follow is this: Invest in Your Dreams“. Invest your time and your energy, as well as your money. Because, when you do so, not only will you limit your spending of money to the things that will let you spend your time, but in the process you will be becoming your true self.
As Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim writes in her book, The Silent Master, “the real purpose of any
goal you have in life is to find Love. When you fulfill your goal, you will undoubtedly feel the joy and Love within you” (page 83).
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