I’m not a big fan of Jim Carrey as a comedian. Slapstick, funny faces and voices and toilet humour just aren’t my kind of funny. However, when I came across the following clip on YouTube, I discovered a new-found respect for him.
Early on in his career Carrey discovered his purpose in life. He wanted to help people forget their worries and concerns and to make them laugh. He pursued his purpose and despite the ups and downs, detractors, naysayers and people who were just ‘trying to help’ he became very successful.
Jim Carrey, a familiar name in most households, didn’t get where he is because he was wealthy. He is not successful because he is famous. His wealth and fame are biproducts of successfully doing what he loves every day. Every day he fulfils his purpose of making people forget their concerns.
This is the clip that gave me this newfound respect. It’s a long clip but worth investing the time. Jim Carrey Graduation Speech.
There are few things in this clip that particularly stood out to me. Things that apply to all of us, seeking purpose and passion in our careers.
1. You can fail at what you don’t want to do, so you might as well try to do what you want.
Carrey tells us about his father, who also wanted to be a comedian but thought that this would be impossible. Unlike Carrey, his father he took the practical, sensible option, so that he could provide for his family. He took the safe, boring job to do “the right thing”. His father failed, was fired and couldn’t support his family. He failed at something he didn’t want to do. Carrey says, if you are going to fail at least love the journey.
2. Don’t put your dreams on hold for anyone
His father put his dreams on hold for his family and Carrey speaks of how heavy a burden it was to carry his father’s unfulfilled dreams. Don’t put your dreams on hold for your family, or for anyone. Your children don’t need overseas holidays, an iPad every year or designer clothes. What they do need is to be raised by happy, fulfilled, and present parents who are following their dreams. It isn’t fair to blame your children or family as an excuse not to chase your dreams.
3. Know what is real and what is not.
Or as Carrey put it, know the difference between a dog that is about to bite you and the thought that a dog might bite you. One is an imminent threat while the other is just an idea. One is real, and one is not. Too often we live our lives scared of might-bes and maybes, scared of things that aren’t even real. This fear more often than not holds us back from reaching our full potential. Learning to distinguish between reality and the maybes is a lesson worth learning.
4. To be seen, you need to take a risk.
Your need for approval and acceptance will make you invisible to the world. How many of us do something because that is what everyone else is doing? We think it is the right thing because everyone else is telling us it is. Don’t be a sheep and blend in with the crowd. Do what you think is right, because it fits with your values and beliefs, not because anyone is telling you to do it. Be yourself and own it, because who wants to be average anyway?
5. Don’t let fear write your story
Fear and insecurity are what write the story titled, ‘I will never be enough.’ We all have our own version of this story, from career paths not taken, businesses not launched, to relationships not pursued and clothes not worn because we don’t feel like we are enough. Would you keep reading a book you don’t enjoy, or listening to a singer that hurts your ears? No! Get rid of your version of the ‘I will never be enough’ song or book. Just throw it away and don’t let fear be the director of your life.
Although his comedy may not be my cup of tea, Jim Carrey’s approach to his career pathway definitely is. We can all fail and so often do. And even if we are competent, good or even great at something aren’t we still failing ourselves by not pursing our passions and our dreams.
Don’t let your expectations, other people’s dreams for you or fear corner you into the safe, practical or boring option. If we are going to fail and remember there is a great chance you will not, why don’t you fail doing something you love and at the very least enjoy the journey.