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Hugh Jackman Says Don't Wait For The Phone To Ring

The Weekly Takeaway is a short weekly digest sent to subscribers every Sunday about the biggest learning of my week. It's as much an internal log as it is public facing. Though, often I feel the process is something everyone can learn from — no matter the endeavor — so sharing here on the interwebs, as well.

Photo Credit: Woody Kelly, Upslash; Model: Flinn Lazier, American Racing Driver

The Weekly Takeaway:

I listened to a Tim Ferriss episode maybe a year ago where he interviewed Hugh Jackman, and one particular phrase that Hugh said has stuck with me ever since:

"never wait for the phone to ring."

It's often so easy to sit back and think of all the reasons why you won't or you can't. "I don't have enough skill yet. If only that person would call me. I'll just wait and see if the universe gives me a sign." We constantly underestimate the unique power we have as humans to cultivate free will, to create our own "signs from the universe" and to create the future you see in your head. I think it's our (mine, for sure) default nature for the most part to retreat to the comfort of what currently exists. It's probably equal parts fear (of failure, of social rejection, of the unknown) and laziness (It's easier to just watch a TV show tonight; I'll wait until I have the perfect energy for this, maybe tomorrow). But if we let those two ingredients cook forever, we'll stay hard-baked into the reality of what is and what others see.

Creating your own future is by no means a blissful short cut to life. If anything, it's definitely much more work. Hugh says as much in the interview. Once he decided to pursue his passion of acting instead of his journalism degree, he quickly realized the new reality was not going to be easy:

"it's not a right that you’re going to act. 98 percent of actors are unemployed. It’s a privilege when you get a job. And don’t expect there will always be one around the corner. Work your ass off, as though this is the last one."

Ask any entrepreneur what life is like (you probably won't even get an answer because they're so busy). But those who are pursuing a vision, and not just a buck, often respond that the work is what they'd want to spend their free time doing anyway. It's the change they wanted to see; it's the passion in their soul they dreamed every night of exploring. That change in mindset afforded them freedom in the work instead of working for freedom.

For Hugh, instead of waiting for the acting industry to tell him his place, he set out to find it immediately.

"I was going to write letters, I was going to start [...] a theater company."
"...My feeling was you have to drive, you have to work. You cannot be a victim..."

And it didn't go exactly as planned. He ended up acting in a few musicals to start (with no prior singing experience), not in the movie roles he ultimately wanted. But he had a direction and a vision, and moved forward on his own power instead of waiting for the perfect wave to sweep him up. Now, as one of Hollywood's most in-demand actors, he is that perfect wave. Not necessarily because he's a star, but because he's doing what he loves as much as he wants.

So if you see, if you see something so clearly; then don't wait for it to see you. Be the reason the phone on the other line is ringing; because everyone else is probably patiently waiting for theirs to ring.

More Inspiration On This Subject:

Lyric Of The Week That Stuck In My Head:

"And if you can't buy it And you stand and deny it

And if you can't see it You refuse to believe it

And if you can't account it You can't help but doubt it

But loving her was easy The easiest thing in the world" Song - Highland Grace by Hiss Golden Messenger

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