“Whether in success or in failure, I’m proud of every single movie I’ve directed.” – Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is arguably one of the world’s best-known film directors today and it’s fair to say that he often appears to have the Midas touch, with everything he works on turning to gold. However, things didn’t start out this way, and even he has faced rejection in his career.
At the age of just 12, Steven made his first home movie, and in his high school years he knew it was his long-term goal to become a film director but his application to attend the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts was rejected because his grades weren’t good enough. Some might have given up at that point and turned their attention elsewhere, but Steven knew he wanted to direct so he held onto his dream and applied on two more occasions – only to be rejected twice more.
“Every time I go to a movie, it’s magic, no matter what the movie’s about.” Steven Spielberg
Eventually accepted by another university, Steven was given the opportunity to work as an unpaid intern at Universal Studios. Grabbing this opportunity with both hands led to another opportunity presenting itself, and he was able to write and direct a short film that was seen by the studio vice president. What he saw impressed him so much that Steven’s unpaid intern job in the editing department turned into a seven-year directing contract. Was it just a lucky break? No. Steven was doing what he felt passionate about doing and doing it to the best of his ability – he earned that contract. Rejection from the university of his choice, not just once but three times, hadn’t stopped him in his tracks. He knew what he wanted to do so he carried on doing it, finding a way around the obstacles in his path.
Now, you might imagine that Steven’s story of rejection ends there. His string of successes began soon after, including Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but even as “box-office gold” and one of America’s youngest multi-millionaires, he wasn’t immune to further rejection. In an interview given in recent years, Steven talked of being turned down when he offered to direct one of the James Bond films that were popular in the 1970s. He says, “I went to Cubby Broccoli (producer) and I asked if I could do one and he said, ‘No’. I’ve never asked again. Instead, I made the Indiana Jones series.”
“When I grow up, I still want to be a director.” – Steven Spielberg
So, what can we learn from Steven Spielberg’s story? Well, it highlights that everyone faces rejection in life, so you’re not alone when it happens to you, but, most importantly, it demonstrates that knowing what you want to do in life and remaining passionate about achieving it is the key to getting around any obstacles that threaten to block your path, including rejection. It’s not what other people think of your efforts that matters, only what you think of yourself. It was Steven’s long-term goal to be a film director, and that’s exactly what he did. Make sure that everything you do, whether success or failure, is something you can be proud of.
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach and has worked tirelessly to help clients achieve success in the world of sport and business over the past 15 years. The next, highly popular, NLP Diploma and Life Coaching Certificate course starts in September 2019. Click here for more information or to sign up.
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