Have you ever heard the name Bryan Wallace? Probably not. He is the biggest Hollywood star who never was. As a child, Bryan had always wanted to be an actor like Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood.
Like his idols, Bryan had camera-friendly good looks and oodles of talent. So much talent that at the age of 19, when he ran away from his home in Ohio and his burger-flipping job at McDonalds to audition for a role in a little George Lucas movie called Star Wars, the producers were so impressed that they offered him the role on the spot.
Within days, everyone in Hollywood was talking about this amazing new actor who was going to be the biggest thing the industry had ever seen. The question being asked at every party was “Have you met Bryan Wallace?”
Bryan was loving the attention, and he was rearing to go. He just couldn’t wait for someone to point a camera at him so he could flash his million-dollar smile and take over the world. That was until his first day of filming on set.
After exactly two hours of shooting, the teen idol quit show business, packed his bag and caught the first flight back home. Bryan just couldn’t cope! He couldn’t memorise his lines, he kept missing his cues, he had no understanding of the instructions the director was shouting at him, and he certainly had not anticipated the number of times a single scene would have to be re-enacted, take after soul-sucking take, until the director was satisfied.
He hadn’t anticipated the futuristic space costumes made of strange, shiny, synthetic fabric that were not ventilated in any way, and only served to seal in the searing Los Angeles heat, causing young Bryan’s flesh to slowly cook under a marinade of his own sweat for two whole hours. That was exactly how long it took for Bryan Wallace’s illustrious movie career to run its course.
Later, when he told the story to his colleagues back at his workplace, he said simply, “I thought acting would be my dream job, but I didn’t know my dream job involved work.”
My friends, like a movie, our hopes, dreams, goals and fantasies look great. Often, that is all we see. Today, I want us to manage our expectations. I want to remind us of the part of our quest which is often hidden from view. Today, I want to show you the dirt from which mansions are built, the pigs from which sausages are cooked, the rocks from which diamonds are hewn. Today, I want to show you the adversity from which millionaires are born.
This is not to scare you, but to prepare you. This is not to discourage you, but to encourage you. This is not to deter you, but to cheer you. I want you to embark on this quest for your dreams with your eyes open.
When obstacles come as shock, it becomes very difficult to rally quickly enough to overcome them, but when someone warns you about problems in advance, you get a chance to strategise and seek solutions – or at least insurance – in good time. This is why I always listen to the weather forecast; so I’ll know whether or not to pack an umbrella.
Today, I’d like us to open our eyes to the reality of what it means to succeed. It means, in addition to picturing the shiny victory we want to achieve at the end of our quest, we must also visualise the gritty, sweaty, tiring, gruelling process that we must traverse, to get from where we are now to where we want to be tomorrow.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and this is what you need to hear, not to make you fear, but to persevere.
GOOD MORNING, GHANAFO!
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