The Rocky Road to Success

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The Rocky Road to Success

Some of you may have noticed my blog had problems today. Some how a hacker got in and placed malicious coding into my header. It caused a real nightmare and was sorted after lots of hair pulling, and head scratching. I have to thank Mary, Corinne, and Alejandro whose alertness and care bought this to my attention. This blog is like my baby, and having reached the 350,000 alexa ranking, I’m as proud as any father would be at his child’s success. Today’s nightmare I likened to having done one round with Rocky Bilbao. I think I may even be punch drunk. Based on yesterdays blog about fear, I may even wake up to find my hard earned ranking may have been blown away. Using the law of attraction, I cancel that thought, and will see my continued climb up this blogging ladder.

Of course Rocky Bilbao is a imaginary character. Although I do believe he has got into the boxing hall of fame. I personally loved all the films, and I admire the lead actor Sylvester Stallone. You all know him of course, but do you know his story.

As a personal development writer and speaker, here is a man that can always exemplify what is possible in life, if you don’t give up. This follows on to my article “How Failure Breeds Success“.

The Rocky films draw on the concept of the underdog, the browbeaten man who comes out on top. The hardship of the Rocky character drew a similar parallel to Stallone’s early life. Both Rocky and Stallone share a never say die attitude.

At a Tony Robbins 4 day seminar he tells this story. It certainly inspired me. It really shows what is possible if you persist.

“It would be great to be able to pass on to someone all of the successes, the failures, and the knowledge that one has had. To help someone, avoid all the fire, pain and anxiety would be wonderful.” Sylvester Stallone

The Sylvester Stallone story is a true rags to riches tale. Everyone should be able to draw inspiration from his story, and it shows you no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in, there is always a way to turn things around if you’re committed.

This is the tale Tony Robbins told. The Sylvester Stallone story is one of rejection and frustration. From a young age, Stallone had wanted to star in movies. He felt that it was a way to inspire people about what they were capable of, and this he wanted to do. His attempts to get into the movies were met by continuous rejection. He was told that he looked funny, that he talked out of the side of his mouth and sounded funny. Stallone’s voice and the way he looks have to do with his head being pulled out with forceps when he was born. The forceps severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of Stallone’s face, which caused his slurred speech and drooping lower lip. From birth, Stallone was handicapped to some extent.

He was thrown out of casting agency offices in New York more than 1,500 times. There were not even 1,500 agents in New York at the time, but Stallone had gone to many of the agents’ offices multiple times. He just wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Stallone got his first job by going to an agent’s office and spending an entire night there. He arrived at 4:00 p.m. and the agent refused to see him. When the agent came back the next morning he saw that Stallone was still waiting there, and he gave him a job. Stallone’s first gig was playing a hoodlum that got beaten up. Despite landing this small role and a few others, the aspiring actor still did not have money to eat, and he could not even afford to heat his apartment during the cold New York winter.

Stallone’s wife at the time kept telling him to go out and get a real job, something that did not involve acting; however, he refused to do so because he was afraid that if he took a normal job he would lose his hunger to succeed in acting. Stallone felt that this hunger gave him an edge and made him stronger. Stallone and his wife would have one horrible fight after another because he was so broke.

One day Stallone went to the New York Public Library, where it was warm. He had no plans to read anything; he just wanted to escape the chill of his apartment. He stumbled onto a book by Edgar Allen Poe and started reading it. According to Stallone, reading Poe’s work inspired him right then and there to become a writer. Stallone believes that Poe helped him learn to emotionally influence others by not focusing on himself but by looking at people and the world around him.

Stallone went on to write a movie script called Paradise Alley, which he sold for only $100. Meanwhile, he was so broke that he sold his wife’s jewelry, which officially ended their relationship. The only thing that Stallone had left at this point in his life was his dog. He loved his dog for the unconditional love it provided him, even though he had no money; this was more than Stallone could say for his wife at the time.

“I have a lack of fear, whereas in the past the fear of failure was a powerful motivator. Anyway, I have great expectations for the future, but I just don’t know if I’m the monarch of all I survey”. Sylvester Stallone

Stallone one day stood in front of a liquor store, trying to sell his dog. He eventually located a man who wanted to make the purchase. Stallone had hoped to sell the dog for $50, but the buyer refused to pay this much and only offered $25. Stallone sold the dog at the lower price, and walked away crying. According to Stallone, this was the lowest point in his life.

A few weeks later Stallone watched Muhammad Ali fight Chuck Wepner. The fight inspired Stallone. That evening Stallone went home and, in three short days, wrote the script for Rocky. Stallone tried to sell the script and was rejected numerous times. Finally, he found two men, Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, who really liked the script. They offered him $125,000 but on the condition he didn’t take the lead role. Stallone refused and stated that he would only accept this money if he could star in the movie. The producers did not want Stallone to star in the movie because he was an unknown actor. A couple of weeks later they offered him $250,000 if he would not star in the movie, and once again he refused. Later the producers offered Stallone $325,000, and he turned this down as well. Stallone felt that Rocky was his story and that it was incredibly important for him to play the lead role.

Eventually, the producers offered him $35,000 and allowed him to play the part in the movie. They would also give Stallone a share of the profits. Ultimately the movie cost $1 million to make and ended up grossing over $200 million–and winning an Oscar. Stallone said that right before he received the Oscar, he had read every rejection he had ever received and all of the negative things that people had ever said about him, because he had written it all down.

“I take rejection as someone blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” Sylvester Stallone

Incredibly, the first thing Stallone did when he received the $35,000 was go immediately to the liquor store, hoping to get his dog back. He stood in front of the liquor store for three days waiting for the man to appear. Stallone first offered $100 and then more and more money until he offered to pay $1,000. The man still refused to sell the dog back. Finally, Stallone offered the man $15,000 of the $35,000 he received, and he got his dog back. The dog that is featured in Rocky is Stallone’s dog.

This story I hope shows you that there is nothing wrong with failing. Stallone failed many times early on and has since left a legacy of one of the most successful movies ever written and produced. If you do not succeed the first time, just look at what went wrong and change it. Frustration and rejection can make you stronger. Doing something and failing is better than doing nothing. Put your emotions and negative feelings about being rejected behind you.

Life is often frustrating, and the road to success is also often frustrating. Your ability to handle this frustration and rejection, however, will ultimately determine the level of success you will experience. Imagine if Stallone had stopped early on when he experienced frustration and rejection.

True persistence pays off every time in every circumstance. Persistence will fight off failure faster than skill or luck ever could. Just ask Sylvester Stallone, he persisted and knew his outcome and look where he is today, he is living his dream.

Just remember, with the right action plan, time management skills, excellent coach :-), grit and determination, anything IS possible!

“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts”. Sylvester Stallone

As I always loved the first film, i thought i’d add the trailer for us all to enjoy:

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
9 Comments
  1. SJ May 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I can feel the music as I’m reading. What a pain to have to go through all that, I still have no understanding of why people want to be so malicious but I’m glad you/your blog survived.

    • LarryLewis May 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      SJ – it is frightening what some people want to do, and worse what they can do. Thnk god there are others, like you, who will do everything in their power to help others. What you have created in Blogplicity is a group of great people, all who have benefited from your support and kindness. I say that from the heart.

  2. Yogasavy May 19, 2011 at 1:12 am

    Sometimes the hurdles (failure, a word I do not like using) are placed there for us to help or encourage one to understand the other side of things. I have found that when I begin to feel comfortable with what I am doing or to take things for granted or when I am gloating….. is when a HURDLE will appear and before I know it i am picking myself up or tweaking myself to come back to earth!

    • LarryLewis May 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Yogasavy – welcome back. I think the challenges we face are what keeps life exciting, ensuring we are always on our toes. You know I believe that we should always be seeking to grow, and it is these hurdles that make sure we do.

  3. Jessica Mokrzycki May 19, 2011 at 2:58 am

    I’m so glad everything worked out. It’s amazing how so many have too much time on their hands to make the rest of our lives difficult! Your blog rocks…glad you got it sorted out.

    • LarryLewis May 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Jessica – thank you. Your blog always makes me contemplate, you get me thinking so hard. That’s why i love it. You are always creating such great comments it’s awesome

  4. charlie nitric May 19, 2011 at 4:35 am

    Hi Larry –

    What a powerful and impressive story about Sly. I didn’t know a lot of the details other than he struggled when he was young. I feel inspired now after reading your perfect blog and Jessica Mokrzycki’s prior to coming to bother you haha. I’ve enjoyed all your posts very much. OH OH, I have a question. You mentioned, “…having reached the 350,000 alexa ranking.” What is this? Is Alexa ranking something I should be concerned about? Thanks! 🙂 http://charlienitric.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/fellow-bloggers-you%E2%80%99re-starting-to-piss-me-off/

    • LarryLewis May 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Charlie – i love your blog big time mte, and just for you i posted you an explaination of Alexa. The Sylvester Stallone story is awesome and really is a great example of how to never give up

  5. Colline May 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    An inspiring post!

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