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When the Rocky path is the right choice

Jatinder Singh explains how Sylvester Stallone can teach you about overcoming rejection and fear of failure.

Sylvester Stallone

March 2018

In 1975, Stallone was another aspiring actor trying to make it in Hollywood. However, his well-known speech impediment prevented him from getting decent roles. He couldn’t get anything worthwhile despite going to over 1,500 acting agents (he visited some of them up to 10 times!).

He was flat broke and just to survive, Stallone went on the street and sold his dog for $25. As he said himself: “I was 26, totally broke, going nowhere VERY fast, owned two pairs of pants that barely fit, shoes that had holes in them and dreams of being successful were as far away as the sun… But I had my dog, Butkus, my best friend, my confidant, who always laughed at my jokes, and put up with my moods, and was the one living thing that loved me for who I was.”

A few weeks later he saw a Muhammed Ali fight on TV against a local guy who was seen as a down and out and the story for Rocky was born when this fighter knocked Muhammed Ali down. Rocky went on to receive nine Oscar nominations and got three wins, including Best Picture and grossed over $200m.

So, how can we learn from Sylvester Stallone’s experience and apply it in our own lives?

Well, many of us will probably find this story surprising, especially from someone like Stallone who is known for his ability to keep on persevering against the odds.

However, it highlights again, that even the most successful people struggle with rejection, self-doubt and aren’t superheroes! The difference is that they’re able to find a way to overcome being rejected before self-doubt engulfs and prevents them from achieving what they have set out to do, often by preparing themselves for that moment and figuring out a strategy to change it before they get to the point of no return.

Ultimately, how many of us let fear of rejection and failure spiral out of control to the extent that it holds us back in our lives and keep us in the same place in our career? We talk ourselves out of going for the next job or putting our names forward for a promotion because of fear of rejection and failure.

What difference would it make to be able to change that?

Jatinder Singh is a member of the LSCA Business Board.


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