If you've seen Wolf of Wall Street, you probably remember the drugs and the women and the generally craziness that occurs throughout its three hour runtime. But the best scenes in the movie to me are the ones where Jordan Belfort (Dicaprio) gets up in front of his sea of stock brokers and spits out profanities until he's blue in the face.
I can already see the crazed look that most people have in their eye reading this right now.
Okay, Belfort was off the wall back then, but his character did say something in one scene that's incredibly true for those wanting to be successful. In an attempt to inspire his brokers to make more sales, he says "So you listen to me and you listen well. Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing! Is your landlord ready to evict you? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing! Does your girlfriend think you're a worthless loser? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing!"
In fifteen seconds, Jordan Belfort turns weakness into strength, showing us that having our backs against the wall can actually be a good thing.
This summer in San Francisco I got screwed out of a week's pay from a former employer. What made matters worse was that I really needed that money to function out there, since I had been traveling alone for months and didn't have much of it to spare.
I was honestly devastated for a few days. I lost sleep and became depressed and started to go off on my own to think. But then, after that sadness went away, I got angry. And I used that anger to fuel my work for the next week.
I had four days of absolutely nothing to do, so I began writing.
I wrote so much that I forgot about my situation, and my bank account. In Jordan Belfort's words, I picked up the phone and started dialing, except in my case it was a computer and I was typing, not dialing.
I wrote at The Huffington Post back then, too, so I just started blasting out content as much as I could. My anger led to my first ever viral article--one about being introverted, of all things.
Then I wrote an article about my time working at Disney. That took off, and sent hundreds of people to my blog, which had barely been getting 20 visitors per day for the past few months. I also got fifty likes on my Facebook page, which only had about 37 likes from friends and family.
Then I started getting email subscribers and Twitter followers.
Then something incredible happened; I stopped feeling bad about getting screwed out of my money. In fact, I felt better than I had in months seeing fans roll in and enjoying something that I wrote.
The internet really is a wild place, I've learned. Something you write can go from word document to the front page of the Huffington Post in a matter of two hours.
Here I was, having words I wrote read from what I can only estimate to be tens of thousands of people online. If you want me to be honest, I don't have a regular job because I actually enjoy doing that job. I have a day job because bills need to be paid. When I set out on my journey across the United States five months ago, the main goal was to build an audience for my blog so I could make income from that by the end of it.
It was a silly dream, really.
I started with 37 Facebook likes and I now have 219. I started with 198 Twitter followers and I now have 340. The truth is my follower count has increased drastically since going on the trip, but I was much too busy working and traveling to spend the right amount of time on my blog. I thought that I would be able to live just off of the income from my site by the end of the trip, but the truth is I now have a much more realistic view of how long it will take me to get there.
But that's not the moral of this story. The moral is that desperation is our friend. When our backs are up against the wall, we can either feel bad or get moving like someone just stuck a hot iron on our skin.
And most of the time, we do just that.
So let me ask you a few questions.
Are you behind on your credit card bills?
Is your landlord ready to evict you?
Good. Get to work.