I find my inspiration from many different places. I don’t look to one thing and say that I draw inspiration strictly from that. I have a few sides to me, but as a recent post said there are three things that drive my life: Movies. Lacrosse. Fighting.
I draw my most inspiration from the most cliche’ of places – my parents. My father, with my brother at 5, me at 4 and my sister at 2 quit his job and started his own company. A company he built from scratch into quite a success. He is and always will be my hero. He was a great athlete and I’ve always looked up to him. From him I am inspired to take chances on myself (even though he is the one I fear most when taking those chances). Admiration for your father is a double-edged sword sometimes… My whole life I have bet on myself. Always. There are moments of despair and when you feel like things can’t get any worse, but for me, those are the greatest moments. Those are the moments that I cherish, because they are what make a man. How you respond to them. And I have always been confident in myself enough to, even when everything is stacked against me, say ‘screw it’ and move forward. And move with a purpose. From quitting baseball to focus on lacrosse (probably the most colossal decision I have ever had to make in my life, especially when you consider I was eleven). To dropping out of Villanova (having just returned from Cambridge), where I was on the Dean’s List for Accounting, to focus on film. To applying to the one and only grad school I wanted to go to even though they take 24 out of a few thousand applicants and everyone told me I had no shot. I will always bet on myself and my dad inspires me to do that on a daily basis.
My mother, the most selfless woman I know, inspires me with the generosity she has bestowed upon my siblings and I. She has dedicated her life to making sure ours are great. You don’t realize this sort of thing until it is gone or in jeopardy, and I am grateful that my time in Los Angeles and with my ruptured kidney has helped me respect what my mother has done for me. And the truly generous people her and my father are. Not just to me, but to our extended family and to anyone who has ever needed my family’s help.
Everything I wish I could be in a human being they embody in one way or another.
In the creative side of the film world, I draw inspiration from other filmmakers – but more from the films themselves. I am drawn to a term that gets tossed around way too often nowadays – ‘greatness’. The human beings that chase it and those that even capture it or pursue it so rigorously it shakes the foundations of their life move me. They push me in the hopes that one day I can move people with the stories I tell. People like Orson Welles, John Ford, David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, Clint Eastwood, James Cameron, Paul Thomas Anderson and the other perfectionists out there that fight for their films and their ideas down to the font on the movie posters. I know I have a long way to go, but I am dedicated. When times are tough and money is tight, and it is very tight even with the moderate success I’ve had at a fairly young age – there are just no other options. There is no fall back plan. This is what I was meant to do. Telling stories that I love is what gets me up in the morning. And the only thing I need to remind me of that is a screening of a movie I love.
The same sort of perfectionist approach is what inspires me in sports as well. Athletes that dedicate themselves so fully to what they are doing in the pursuit of greatness that nothing else matters. I admire that. I respect that. I’ve been so divided in my brain since I left Villanova to focus on film. It was always like there were two things pulling me apart – lacrosse and film. And lacrosse, because it was so much more immediate of a fix always won out. Now that I tore my achilles and the dream is fading – film is winning out. I have been throwing myself almost completely into it… until fighting came along (but I digress)… These are the athletes and people who inspire me. People that love their sport so much they will fight through anything to win. People that find that last bit of fight somewhere deep down in their soul for one last effort. That last round or fourth quarter. Because it isn’t so much about winning, as it is about playing the game. You fight for that last quarter because you love the game. I’ve never been the best. I’ve never been the strongest. I’ve never been the fastest. But I’ve always been the last person standing. I will out run you. I will out lift you. I will out train you. I will take a bigger beating and keep coming back.
And now I will tell you why I am writing this post. Because recently a person came into my life who inspires me. This person isn’t famous. They aren’t rich. They aren’t a professional athlete. They haven’t figured out how to create energy through fusion. And yet I look at this person and my blood seems to run faster, my head seems to clear and my posture seems to straighten out… Because I look at this person and am struck with inspiration. They inspire me to take better care of myself. They inspire me to treat others better. They inspire me to treat myself better. They are someone that when I first met could feel this positive energy just radiating off them. They have recently taken a big chance to follow a dream that will make them happy and in the short term it will be very hard. And they get out of bed every morning and they just do it. They aren’t very big, and it is like all the chips have been stacked against them – and yet, I find myself in awe of their strength. And with that I find myself training harder, working harder and living better because of this person. You may not know it, but you are out there… and the people you inspire could move mountains. Lead nations. Forge bridges that will connect worlds.
And for anyone who is reading this and going through their own daily struggles or tough decisions, remember that your goals, dreams and convictions shape who you are. Not your current job or situation. We are all on a path and how we get there is up to us.
And do not be afraid to be let others inspire you. No matter how big. Or small.