“My catchall, general advice to everyone who moves out to Los Angeles is this: if there’s anything else you can do, anything else that’s your calling, go do that instead. It’s a pat answer,” he admitted, “but this is just too hard…”

Which immediately raises the question: why is it hard? Because people will be mean to you? Because the hours stretch long and your social life sums to nil? Because you’ll be overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated – conditions your mother conditioned you into believing you’d skip right over because you were a unique snowflake?

It also prompts the follow-up question: hard compared to what?

When did the resultant response to“too hard” lead to “so don’t try?” Giving up because something is too hard – you attempted, drew conclusions based on the results, and decided to invest your time elsewhere – there’s no shame in that.

But too hard to even attempt?

Easily the worst attempt at advice I’ve ever come across.

Everyone’s journey, — from love to career to family to personal — is just that: personal. To compare how one person experiences joy, pain, and hardship to another is a fruitless exercise. The brilliant academic mind is a tortured soul in social situations that the social butterfly who battles bulimia excels in, while the bum standing outside her bathroom window scrounges through garbage cans of the single mother raising three kids alone because her addict husband couldn’t kick the habit he picked up when he in law school.

Who’s to say what’s “too hard?”

Pursuing your dreams is hard – that’s why they’re dreams; because you gots to stretch and reach and scratch and claw and lie and steal and cheat for them. If you make a living creating art, hustling for every cent, sure, it’s probably safe to say your path is filled with more struggle than someone happy with their nine to five.

But that does not make you a unique snowflake.

Contrary to popular belief, you still are not the hardest working person in your town, or your field. You’re probably not the hardest working person on your block.

Nor does it give you the privilege of passing off bullshit as your own sage adage for the temporary high of superiority and ten seconds of a hard dick you get at the thought of helping a fellow artist with your brilliant insight into the Holllywood machine.

It’s irresponsible to assume fragility, not strength. Individuals are more resilient than they’re given credit for, and we have to make a choice: to be the person who pushes the resiliency of others beyond their limits, beyond what they thought possible…

Or the person who convinces them that, “yes, there’s your limit. Your reach meets your grasp.”

Gotta stretch, baby. Gotta dream. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. Maybe you’ll make it, maybe you won’t.

But at least you won’t leave this earth wondering what would have happened if you never took your shot.

Which would be the hardest thing of all.

Photo Credit: muizei

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