Walt Disney's newspaper editor told the aspiring cartoonist he “wasn't creative enough.”
When you first get into bodybuilding, it is in its purest form. It’s you, the weights, the gym, and the obsession with progression. It truly is “you against you.” Every day, you come in clanging and banging for hours and hours with one goal in mind—to get fucking jacked. You want the muscle mass. You want the vascularity. You want to be better than you’ve ever been. Yeah, you have your friendly rivalries at the gym where you want to outdo the next guy, but at this early stage the desire and focus is so pure. You just want to better yourself and that’s why you entered those doors on day one. Nothing more. Nothing less.
A Baltimore TV producer told Oprah that she was "unfit for television news.”
Depending on the intensity of your goals and dreams, that will dictate where the next part of this fairy tale will go. If you’re someone like me, an obsessive extremist with a bloodthirst for being #1 at whatever he does, then you’re going to have to listen to this. If your dream is to be Mr. Olympia, make a million dollars through this God-forsaken industry, or anything of extreme grandeur, you’re more than likely going to go down a dark path of trying to impress other people.
On this dirt road into the depths of hell, you will encounter many people who will praise you, judge you, criticize you, blow smoke up your ass, try to take advantage of you, and maybe even extort you. I’m not talking about the high school kid that comes up to you in the gym and sweats you or the pretty girl who rejects you. Not them. When you’re at that level, those kind of remarks are about as routine as taking Animal Pak each morning. I’m talking about people in charge: bosses, promoters, judges, scouts, photographers, modeling agencies, gym owners, or just guys that have heavy influence in the industry. I’m talking about big fish in the pond.
The manager of the Grand Ole Opry told Elvis he was “better off driving trucks.”
For some lucky athletes, these “important people” (and I put that term in quotes because I’m being dead fucking sarcastic and only they think they’re that important) are the rocket ship to the stars for athletes. “Hey, you have a good look. Come do a photoshoot with me.” “You represent the ideals of our brand well, here’s a supplement contract.” “You’re the next big thing. I want you to guest pose at my show.” That is a terrific thing when someone believes in you (or they believe in the money they can make off you) and can help you get there. It feels great. Feels like you’re the next big thing, like The Beatles before they invaded the USA. You can get on your phone after you leave some fancy modeling agency in Suite 3458860C in New York City and phone home to mom and dad to tell them you’ve made it. You’re on the way up and success is coming your way. All that hard work you put in the gym is finally paying off. Man, what self-esteem you must have at that point. A very important person that is highly respected is impressed by you. I couldn’t even imagine.
In the 1980s, Mark Cuban lost his job as a salesman at a computer store. That was the last time he worked for someone else.
What about everyone else? What about the athletes that go unnoticed? Like the kids in high school who weren’t the nerds but also not quite the popular crowd either. The group of guys that the hot girls said hello to but never dated? If you asked any of these leeches in a position of any kind of power, they’d say, “They just don’t fit the look.” For everyone following along at home, that’s the politically correct way of saying “you’re not fucking good enough.” It happens every day. Whether athletes are actively turned down or downright ignored, people get kicked to the curb like unwanted trash. It’s happened to me for years. I’ve had a guy scream at me in Apollon Gym, “You don’t have it.” I’ve had modeling agencies talk to my friends and walk right by me. I’ve been defriended on social media by prominent individuals in the industry because they disagreed with the way I used to conduct my off-season.
You know what I have to say to that? Fuck ‘em. If you’ve ever felt under appreciated, unnoticed, unwanted, or downright disrespected, remember this… these people don’t dictate where you rank in life. They don’t influence how much you are worth to yourself or the world. They don’t dictate shit. They are pushing you around with a bit of power and some personal opinions because they think you need them to succeed. You do not. You do not need the approval of another man to become rich, famous, successful, or anything that you sincerely desire. You need to believe in yourself, trust your abilities, and take no shit from anyone. Get back to that day one feeling in the gym when it was you vs. you. And that was all that mattered.