It took 15 years to be an overnight success

Harrison Ford as Han Solo Last month I wrote about Fanboys and how Ernie Cline persevered for 10 years while his script bounced around Hollywood. A recent USA Today spread hyping Harrison Ford and the new Indiana Jones movie reminded me that he endured something similar. He wasn’t always the guy whose movies brought in over $3 billion dollars. He worked on small roles for 15 years before landing American Graffiti and even had to work as a carpenter after that to get by.

One of those carpentry jobs proved pivotal, though, as he was fixing things around the offices where casting for Star Wars was going on and was asked by George Lucas to read lines as a fill-in to even out the sets of actors. The rest is history.

In the USA Today article, Ford remarked:

“I think what finally netted me some degree of success is tenacity and willingness to understand that I wasn’t to take it personally. It’s just about business.”

I wish I could learn to deal with things that way. It’s hard to detach yourself from things you’ve put your heart and soul into when they get shot down. Taking it personally comes natural, but in order to put yourself through it again and again, you do indeed have to realize it’s about business. I doubt I’ll ever be largely responsible for several billion dollars in revenue regardless of what I do in life, but I’ll be better off and give ideas a chance to live again if I remember that lesson.


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