November 5, 2014

Robin Williams--A Perfect Example of Following Your Own Dreams

It takes inner strength to fight against expectations—those of society, friends or family. It takes even more courage to chart our own course to fabulous success contrary to the hopes of loved ones. However, many of us find that we must follow our own paths if we are to remain true to ourselves. 

Who are Some Famous American Models of Originality?

In my book, Accept No Trash Talk, I mention several people who marched to the beat of their own drums by refusing to accept previous labels:

Chris Rock, a famous American comedian, peeled off the label of “troubled inner-city youth” by becoming a successful stand-up comedian and actor.

Naomi Judd and Dolly Parton both threw away the sticker reading “underprivileged country girls that will never move beyond the confines of the mountains of the Appalachian region“. These ladies have been iconic country singers for decades. Individually, they have also written songs and books as well as starred in movies.

Michelangelo , the great Renaissance artist, expanded his label of “young novice sculptor” when he took marble that was first carved out decades earlier and created one of the most well-known masterpieces of art in history. This statue of David still stands in Michelangelo’s hometown of Florence, Italy.

What Icon of Originality is Close to our Hearts Today?

Robin Williams, a standard of American stage and screen for over three decades, died of apparent suicide on August 11, 2014. He had at least two false starts on the road to discovering his true self: 

He didn’t finish his college education in political science. Instead, he chose to attend the famous Juilliard School of Acting in New York City.

One of Williams’ teachers suggested that he stop attending Juilliard because the classical education didn’t fit well with his particular comic genius: free association of ideas. Robin Williams’ strength was in improvisation; he couldn’t always be pinned down to scripts. 

Leave it to a genius of creativity to excel in the most challenging aspect of comedy--improvisation!

His unique comic gift earned him 16 awards, including one Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globes, five Grammy Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Also, he was nominated three times for an Academy Award.

Another interesting fact is that he was a political conservative among the traditional liberal Hollywood elite. That takes courage!

How can we March to the Beat of our own Drum?

We can follow our inner voice by spending time on activities that fulfill us. Most of us have the ability to choose our hobbies, if not our careers. We will only find our true passion if we follow our hearts. For example, I love writing, so I’m often typing on my keyboard. I have made little money by any standards, but I am content.

I am happy because I am able to put my heartfelt emotion into words. This is a lifelong vision of mine.

Where have your dreams led you?

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