Eternal Sunshine, Despite the Odds

Starting your own business can leave you fraught with doubt. What if I fail? Who is going to buy my products? Can I pay my mortgage this month? Working for yourself has so many upsides, but sometimes these doubts become overwhelming.

When times get tough, it’s important to remember there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. Sometimes, life doesn’t go your way. Adversity can strike when you are least expecting it, or there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. You want to escape the rat race and forge your own path to pursue what makes you happy, but niggling thoughts of confusion and concern prevail. If this is you, rest assured, you are not alone. This is all part of the road to entrepreneurship and it need not be a negative. Instead, these doubts make you stronger, more in control and more determined to rise up through the difficulties and create a business you are truly proud of.

When times get tough, it’s important to remember there is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

It’s hard to believe, but even the most successful people in this world have had their personal challenges. One such story is comedian Jim Carrey, who we know and love for his slapstick humour, rubber-like face and broad grin that warms the heart of young and old. Carrey embodies the ‘rags-to-riches’ cliché perfectly and is inspirational in his determination, positive thinking and strength of will that lead him from being homeless to worth over $150 million.

James Eugene Carrey was born to a middle- class Canadian family in January 1962. His father was an accountant and his mother stayed at home to look after their four children. Life was ticking along fine, until Carrey’s father lost his job. The family moved into a farmhouse at a factory, where his father then worked as a security guard. Jim was in his early teens at this point and helped the family make ends meet by working as a janitor with his siblings at night after attending school during the day. By 15, he quit school and worked as a security guard himself. Unfortunately, the family later had to leave the farmhouse and were forced to live in their Volkswagen bus for a time.

Despite the hardship, Carrey had found a passion for comedy. His parents were very supportive, with his father helping him put together his acts and driving him to gigs wherever possible. He began performing stand-up at age 14 at the YukYuk in Toronto, but was not welcomed with a supportive crowd. He did not give up though. At age 17, he returned to the YukYuk stage with a polished act and the response was much more positive. This was the start of his career.

Positive thinking is said to have played a huge role in helping Carrey move forward. He would visualise success at every opportunity, and even wrote himself a $10

million check to bank a decade later. He did make his goal, and this symbolic cheque was placed in his father’s casket in 1994 in tribute to dreams becoming reality.

As a new comedian on the circuit, Carrey moved to Los Angeles and continued to perfect his act, performing wherever he could – often for free – to boost his experience and contacts. He eventually caught the attention of fellow comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who invited Carrey to work with him on tour. Dangerfield brought Carrey to Las Vegas, from where he relocated to Hollywood. As time went on and his contacts and his skills progressed, Carrey set his sights even higher – to move on from stand-up and break into the film and television industry.

Carrey landed his first major acting role was Damon Wayans in Earth Girls are Easy (1988), where Wayans was so impressed, he scored Carrey an audition on his brother’s show In Living Colour. Carrey become a hit on the show and performed regularly for four seasons.

In 1993, Carrey debuted on ‘The Tonight Show’, and the scripts started pouring in. His unique

style and over-the-top expressions made for memorable characters in 1994’s Ace Ventura, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. The following year, he played the Riddler in Batman Forever. In 1996, he was reportedly the first actor to bank $20 million for a movie, starring as Ernie “Chip” Douglas in The Cable Guy.

From here, the movies kept coming, including Liar Liar, Me, Myself and Irene, Bruce Almighty and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to name a few. In addition, Carrey has used his wealth and fame to give back to the community through various charitable pursuits, such as Comic Relief for St Jude Christian Research Hospital, the Better You Foundation, and the National Veteran Foundation.

From living in a van and working security at age 15 to help feed his family, to now a respected, well-known and highly successful actor, Jim Carrey offers hope for us all. We may not ever be worth $150 million, but we all have it within us to strive for our own version of success and a happy, fulfilled life both in business and beyond.