Inspiration often comes from unlikely places…like the Teen Choice Awards. I don’t typically watch award shows and I am certainly not in the intended demographic of the Teen Choice Awards. But when a friend and colleague recently sent me a clip where Ashton Kutcher was accepted the coveted surfboard-shaped trophy for “Ultimate Choice Award,” I gave him (both my friend and Ashton) the benefit of the doubt.
You may know Ashton from such shows as That ’70s Show, Punk’d, and Two and a Half Men, or from the movie The Butterfly Effect (a personal favorite of mine). He is also an accomplished entrepreneur and investor. This comes across when Ashton outlined the three things he accredits with reaching his level of success.
The following are a few excerpts from Ashton’s acceptance speech. While focused on teenagers, what he said is beneficial to leaders looking to develop their skills and the skills of those around them.
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work. When I was 13 I had my first job with my Dad carrying shingles up to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job, and every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job.”
“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is…just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less, so don’t buy it.”
“Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble, and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing—everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you, and you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people can live in.”
Imagine the success you can achieve by heeding Ashton’s advice. Focusing on potential, image, and your ability to control your environment does not require an immediate change in your actions, just an effort to reframe your outlook. Once you are able to do this, your behaviors will begin to catch up with your attitude and success is sure to follow.