Motivation is a beautiful thing. Its those supernatural moments that live within the cracks and crevices of every day experiences that can make the most difference in our lives. The trials and tribulations we go through break us and down and build us up in ways that often surpass our comprehension, at least in those moments. But to experience hardship, push past it, through doubt and despair and onto a new reality altogether? That is something that can’t be measured by a dollar amount or any material possession. That’s what life is about for those willing to travel the ends of the earth to turn their dreams into reality. That’s the ticket to the promised land.
The first time I saw the movie Moneyball was early 2012 immediately after it was released to DVD. I was in my sixth year as an active recording artist, trying to work my way through the local ranks as a live performer while learning how to develop my brand online and build a proper and organic fanbase to catapult me into the world reserved for the worthy in music. I was a rapper/songwriter, nothing more, nothing less, although I was bartending on the side to pay the bills. Merely a year prior, I managed to partner with the infamous “family friend” of mine that nearly every amateur artist has in their tale of storied glory. You know, the one who takes a chance & invests a few bucks on risky but promising talent dead set on reaching the top of the mountain of fortune and fame? In an experience that to this day will end up being my first lesson in “the game” if you will; that allowed me to evolve in how I see things as an artist & professional.
While the business partnership that looked like the beginning stages of my dreams coming true seemed promising, it eventually crashed and burned, leaving me with pieces of failure I’m still picking up to this day. But luckily for me, shortly before I crashed & burned, I had somewhat of an awakening after watching Moneyball on one of my many solo movie nights; where I’d lock myself in my bedroom, away from my roommates with my beats and my headphones, writing lyrics while trying to gain inspiration from DVD’s I’d pick up from the Red Box down the street. It was many of those nights that I found myself learning to deal with my failures in a means that wasn’t overtly destructive to my mind, body and soul.
If you’re unfamiliar with Moneyball, it stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and is the biopic story of Billie Beane and the 2002 Oakland Athletics who made history by winning more consecutive baseball games than any other team in National League History, using a highly criticized and unorthodox means of scout recruiting and player roster placement; relying on analytics more than talent, as teams with large budgets in major markets have always done in professional sports. While I’m not much a fan of baseball or professional sports at all for that matter, I do love the work of both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and had heard the movie was a must-see by trustworthy sources. So I watched what turned out to be one of the most inspirational films I’ve ever seen that was more about faith in one’s undying passion above anything else.
Throughout the entirety of the film, we see Beane, portrayed by Pitt, undergo a transformation of self as he dares to venture into uncharted territory as the manager of a professional baseball team who risks his livelihood to defy the odds and winds up achieving something that most thought was unfathomable in such an industry considering the real issue of unfair economical advantages top-tier sports programs seem to have over their less valued competitors. Again, I’m not so much a sports fan anymore, so these issues don’t bother me but they do point out a striking trend that isn’t just present in professional sports, but every industry, in all aspects of trying to make it in the world.
Life is unfair. There’s no doubt about that and no matter how many times we’re told that, it doesn’t set in until we have an earth rattling experience that shows us how true that statement really is. As Billy Beane pushes forward amidst frustration and desperation, he is faced with resistance from virtually every known form of public scrutiny that comes with being in such a position managing a multi-million dollar professional baseball team in a time where advertising reigns supreme and superstar celebrity culture is the law of the land. Week after week as losses rack up, he fights with his head coach, colleagues, the media, fans, and of course his own ego. Most count him out, label him as mentally unstable and unfit to do his job; until he takes matters into his own hands, orchestrating trade deals that will allow him to run the team as initially planned at the start of the season. Its then that the tides turn and we see his sacrifice pay off, showing us what persistence can accomplish when really put to the test.
Without laying out the details of the film’s entire plot I will say that after seeing the film a dozen times at least, I can honestly attest that it has become among my top 5 favorite films in recent history. Not just because its an incredible story, but because as someone who has been through a vast array of different bouts of pain and turmoil, it always reminds of who I really am and why I’m here; striving every day through continuous trials and tribulations to make my dreams come true, despite wanting to quit time and time again.
What I’ve learned as I’ve held on to my dreams with every last bit of strength I possess is that there are no guarantees in this life and no unspoken law or rule that says others have to support you along the way in your quest for greatness. If you want something, you just have to go after it, no matter what anyone else says or how much they doubt you. It has to become second nature to push past scrutiny, ridicule, doubt and despair. You have to learn where to draw the line between you and naysayers, because they have nothing to lose by doubting you, while you risk losing everything you are and everything you have by listening to them. Nobody has power over you. Nobody gets do dictate what you can or can’t achieve in this life except you. Its really a matter of how far you’re willing to go in order to get the results you want no matter what, because life is far too short to spend wasting time wondering what could’ve been.
Everyone has dreams. Its up to us to decide whether they’re worth striving for or not. We don’t all have to be famous rockstars, but we do all have an obligation to ourselves to see just how much we can get out of this life; because without that one thing that drives and motivates you every day, what else is there? A mundane life with no adventure and no passion? That doesn’t sound like living, it sounds like dying slowly, which let’s be honest, none of us really want.
With all that’s happening in the world right now its easy to focus on the bad while ignoring the overwhelming amount of good we each have in our lives. Let that be what keeps you sane and grounded while you decide what you want out of this life and never let anyone else decide for you. That’s how dreams come true. That’s how we make it to the top of the mountain to see to see all that is, instead of all we’re imagining it to be.