I’ve said it, you’ve probably said it and lord knows you’ve at least heard the saying, “the struggle is real” when referring to either your daily grind or the pursuit of your dreams. I used to find some sort of confidence in saying this as if me struggling was just another example of how “real” or transparent my personality is. There is also something sort of romantic about the idea of a struggling or “starving” artist, almost like you weren’t a true artist if you weren’t struggling. Then one day I was sitting in my acting class and my teacher was giving a lesson about this very topic. He made a point that I couldn’t shake, he said, “if you keep saying the struggle is real than it always will be.” Goddammit, he was totally right.
A week later I was in San Francisco on my first vacation in 2 years. I was absolutely falling in love with the city, the architecture, the food, the weather and I thought about what my life would be like if I moved there. Of course I started idealizing what my life would be like; I would have an amazing Victorian in the Haight and I would be picnicking in the parks and on and on but then I started thinking about how expensive the city was, how none of my friends were there, how I would be leaving the apex of the entertainment industry and I realized that THAT would be a struggle. I started appreciating all the things in my daily life that are actually so easy and even more than that I found such a comfort in the fact that everyday I was choosing to pursue my dreams, and I was actually making it happen.
The road to your dreams can be hard, hell it usually is and it’s always going to be an uphill climb. What we forget and what we might miss if we continue to view the situation as a constant struggle is the plateaus that we hit along the way. When I got to speak on a panel at Comic-Con this year (a dream of mine) that wasn’t a struggle, that was one of the plateaus on my career hill where I got to stop and take a look at the view. I got to see how everything I’ve done up until that moment, every step and step backwards that I’ve taken in my career led me to that view and I was damn proud of it.
If you believe pursuing your dreams is a struggle it always will be. Why? Because a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. It’s not a struggle to get to do what you want to do, it’s a blessing. Nothing comes easy and if it did it wouldn’t feel as good when you achieve your goals. When you reach the top of your career hill, even when you reach those beautiful view plateaus, your legs are going to burn, you’ll be exhausted but you’ll also feel that you worked for what you have. A tram or elevator or damn escalator to those points will never ever make you feel as proud.
I’ll leave you with this final thought – the very definition of struggle is this;
“make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.”
Is that really what you want to think/feel when it comes to your life? I didn’t think so.