What Life has taught me about Success and Failure

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

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It is the beginning of a brand new month so you know what that means, an opportunity to write new goals, create and build new relationships, and begin a new fresh start. It is hard to believe that summer has come and gone and September was merely a blip within the space time-continum. As we continue to look back at our old summer photographs longing for those late night evenings with such laughter and pleasure upon our face, there is still something within the air during the fall months leading up to December and January that we can all appreciate and enjoy.

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about my childhood, as you can tell by this image, life was beautiful. So curious and full of wonderment, happiness was definitely instilled within family life. We were never without, but we also were taught the value of hard work. Things didn’t get handed to us, we were always taught to work hard for what you want.

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We played in sports such as Baseball & Basketball where I learned a lot about being a team player. I always dreaded try-outs. But once I was on a team I enjoyed the game, they were some fun and exciting times especially the year our team got to go to a tournament and we had to travel to a different city. We won some games, we lost some games and as a child losing can be devastating but at the same time preparing you for life.

High School is always a life changing experience, another brave new world we are thrust into that is new exciting adventurous but it can also be very tiresome and stressful part of personal development. Creating a balance of fitting in with everyone but at the same time coming into your own as an individual. I was the type of teenager that blended in with everyone, could get along with pretty much any “group” associated with growing up. You know the stereo types, “The punks” – “The Goths” – “Preps” and “A/V geeks” and the list goes on.

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But I really found my home with these core group of friends, they changed my life a great deal. They embraced the overly eccentric side, and took me in as one of their own. We had the greatest adventures and spent a lot of time together, I will always consider them my second family.

They taught me to embrace one self, to never fear to be different in a world where we are all trying to be the same. They taught me the value of friendship and what it meant to be a friend something I carry with me where ever I go.

Relationships have always been hard for me, but again, we sometimes win some, some times we lose more then what we realize. They always say that its best to cut the cord on a relationship. But as I spent some time reflecting upon the past I realize I’m still in good contact with a majority of individuals that pulled on my heart strings. And even to this date when I see them post pictures of the beautiful life, I can still smile at the memories and emotions they had brought into my life.

Although in high school everything on the surface looked and felt good, normal as normal could be, there is and always will be the dark side. I’ve attempted suicide 4 times, 4 times, I wanted my life to come to a bitter end. Even though by the happy photographs taken, well nurtured environment of friends & family. I just couldn’t bare to go on in those four moments.

Even to this day, I sometimes worry that those emotions will come back in a brief instance and I won’t be able to prevent myself from harm. My only safety net has been taking life day by day and not get too overly stimulated by one or more emotions. I kind of wanted to talk about it some what because we don’t speak openly about it too much. It’s negative, no one wants to hear about it, overall a dreary subject matter. But we all go through bouts of depression. Sometimes those bouts of depression becomes too much for us to handle. I never really talked about it much because I was always so worried what people will think of me afterwards.

Will they say “this guy is mentally unstable” when really we all suffer from different degrees of depression at one point in our lives or another. And we all develop our own way of handling it. For me, there was always this little voice inside my head that told me “You’re not done yet”. As if there was a higher calling in my life, there was purpose for me, still unfolding as we speak and don’t give up the fight just yet. But for others it might not be the same, perhaps they keep all their emotions bottled up inside and have no where to turn because of the fear of rejection and feeling different from everyone else.

When they should be able to have that courage to speak out, to share their pain with others and have that acceptance. Its okay to feel what you feel and no matter what, as long as you have the courage to make it through to the next day you can win over these temptations.

I also believe being completely immersed as an artist we feel deeply connected to the world around us. It wasn’t until I took a personality test where I found out why I am the way that I am. I have an ENFJ personality type. Also known as “The Giver” – Extraverted Feeling with Introverted Intuition. If you are reading this blog and know me very well you’ll notice the similarities.

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Dreams has also been a constant theme within my life, when I was a child I always wanted to be an animator, I loved animation. Bringing life on screen that was once only an image in your head has been the ultimate goal. Story telling at its finest. I use to LOVE watching Bugs Bunny and Tweety show, Dark Wing Duck, Batman, Gummy Bears, Duck Tales and the list goes on and on.

Those where the days where a lot of values were embedded into my brain. Where stories had a moral to it and was written like a life lesson and not just for the shear entertainment of it.

From there I found myself completely in love with the storytelling in Films.

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Tim Burton being my all time favourite director for style.

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George Lucas for his constant pushing the boundaries with how Technology & Storytelling interact with each other.

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Steven Spielberg for his child like curiosity

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James Cameron for his drive and ability to constantly push Innovation within Filmmaking.

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And finally Francis Ford Coppola with his over-the-top personality combine with a passion and drive to change how we look at films.

We see these people as highly successful individuals, but, if you ever taken a look at their past it was riddle with failure. Failure caused by a lack of understanding, a lack of being open to new possibilities within their field.

If you haven’t watched this documentary made about American Zoetrope and their beginnings, do so! It has always been a great source of inspiration to see some of the greatest filmmakers of our generation deal with personal struggles. Dealing with Studios that have been creating films a certain way for decades, and losing money in the box office because the audience was looking for something different.

And in walks Francis and his team at American Zoetrope who wanted to be that change and understood where the future of filmmaking was headed. Which had less to do with spending a lot of money to pay the same core actors seen in the same style of films.

But the future of filmmaking was story driven, dealing with issues that were current with their times, being bold and embracing the culture that will transform a nation.

This is how I feel about Television and the Web, as we move forward in the future, it becomes less about the money and more about getting the story ideas we have inside our head, that is just itching to be released upon the world. A great story does not come from the seeds of money, a true storyteller will always be driven by the heart of the individual. Anyone can get paid to do a job, but it takes real courage and sense of passion to tell a story from the soul.

And as SLR cameras come down in price year after year making tools of the trade becoming more and more accessible I predict there will be more and more future generation of storytellers picking up their camera and sharing their ideas with the rest of the world. Which is exciting to see how many awesome projects are on the go.

Human Stories is one in particular, where you can see the passion and creativity is instilled within each one of their videos. Driven by sharing the lives of people that have touched them and not by how do we make a living off of this.

And it’s funny, it feels like just yesterday I was sitting in high school sharing my passion for the educational process to get where I am today and having one of my teachers tell me “If you goto Mohawk, all you’ll end up doing is creating safety tapes at Defacso” – Boy, wasn’t he further from the truth! I kept my spirits high not letting his negative remark get to me.

Even when I failed to get into the Television Broadcasting due to my grades being just below what I needed to have them be, but, I still remained persistent with my vision. I dropped out twice from general-arts and science knowing it wasn’t where I wanted to be. It wasn’t until Pre-Media program was developed where I found my true calling, and found myself the next wave a life changing friendships.

When everything was all said and done, I was in the right place and at the right time with the right core group of friends. I might have been late in game graduating from Television program when I was probably 26’ish but it would prove to be more valuable that I never was accepted before hand, as Mohawk was just in the transforming period of switching their studio to HD.

Being exposed to brand new technology that would change the way we watch Television and share our stories created a peace of mind that I am currently on the right path.

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Graduating might not seem like much to some, but education is very important to me. And going through so much struggle just to finish and see my vision come true gave power and testament to my persistence in life.

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Before I begin my last few points I really wanted to take the time say thank you for reading up until this point, I hope it gave you more of a window into the mind of one creative to another. And even more so, one human to another.

And while trying to maintain a decent public image, I value transparency, using this blog as my portal to express certain aspects of navigating through living ones life. And if my words and views expressed has the ability to inspire or create a relatable emotion or deep sense of connection within the reader I’ll do it. After all, we are not robots, we are human.

The last two years of my life have been one of great stress and pain on my soul. After spending two years working in an environment that I loved to be in. The economic powers that be could no longer support me. Being laid off was very hard to handle, I never went through that before, I’ve quit a job, leaving on my own terms. But never laid off.

The emotion was strange, you can’t help but personalize it, thoughts run through your head like “If only I did this” or “If only I pushed more to stay on top”. But truthfully no one can for see the future as much as you plan for sustainability in a business, as technology rapidly changes, things are being outsourced every single day. It becomes difficult to predict anything at all anymore.

Having lost the job I loved to go to my depression towards life started to come back to me, I had this overwhelming feeling of self-doubt in my abilities. Not to mention I just turn 30 this past year, your next thought is “Now what?” – A normal person would have picked up the pieces right away, Bills needed to be paid and life does go on. However I took a different approach by spending an entire year on E.I while I sort through the catalogue of emotions one goes through after a loss.

It was probably one of the most liberating experiences I’ve ever went through in life. I know people have a distaste for individuals sit on E.I while, you, a hard working employee bust your ass off so I could stay at home and think things through. But keep in mind I’ve probably been working since I was 9, I put the same amount of money as you do.

So I never felt guilty about staying on it for as long as I did as that is what it’s there for, to create safety net when times become tough.

On top of all of this, I lost a part of myself, a dear friend of mine who has been a great supportive individual in my life had a falling out.

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I felt crushed, not that it happen, but that I let it happen. That I let my anger and disappointment get the better of me to the point that I took my frustration out on the rest of the world. I felt completely lost, alone, and probably the worse feeling of despair that I ever felt in my entire life.

And because of my inability to express my emotions in a constructive manner, I destroyed the one thing that matter to me the most was the bond between two friends.

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If I regret one thing, it’s letting my emotions at the time get the better of me and losing 2 years together. Two years that we’ll never get back and that makes me sad.

So why put all of this out there, what is the point you ask? You will fail at one point or another in every aspect of life. You will undergo personal struggles every single day you decide to be in this world.
But you will also succeed, you will feel joy like you never felt joy before.

And there is someone out there, that is going through a similar instance, your problems are not just your own and can / should be free to connect with those people. Life cannot exist without death, Happiness can not exist without sadness. We wouldn’t know what love is without having the friendships there for the foundation of life.

Don’t ever be afraid to be human, even it means sharing your weaknesses, for with out weakness we wouldn’t know our strengths.

– Stay Legendary and always true to one self.
Michael.

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