Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I hope all is well with you. Summer time is nearly over as is the fast for me personally. During this time I spend a great deal of time reflecting on life and working on my relationship with god. As I have told all my friends over the years, you would be amazed with how lucid your mind is when you don't have food on your stomach. That being said, today's blog entry has no specific topic...just some of the thoughts on my mind during Ramadan
Some days during the fast when I am really hungry I remind myself that there are millions of people all over the world who are hungry and have no choice. When I think of that I am no longer hungry.
Patience really is a virtue. When its still 2 hours before sundown all you can really do is wait. Sometimes in life, you have to wait your turn.
Cleansing your body cleanses your mind and helps you feel your best. I always feel young and healthy after I complete the fast
You have to trust in gods plan for your life. This is not to say that you just stand there and let life happen. You do your best and if your intentions are pure, trust in gods plan for YOU
Your mind is stronger than anything else you have. Stronger than all your muscles..stronger than thirst and hunger..stronger than any obstacle that life puts in front of you. You can use your mind for your own good or to your own detriment. Either way, it is VERY strong.
Sacrifice is essential to get anywhere of note in life. Putting other things aside and putting your energy into your main focus will not always be pleasant in your life, but doing it will allow you go where your heart and mind really want to go. That's worth it so long as your goal is...
Don't pray for yourself or for things..pray for your friends and family to be kept safe and happy. It sounds basic but I promise that if you do that for one week, you will feel much better.
Last but not least..do a small good deed regularly. Help an old lady cross the street, open the door for a random person. The positive energy that you get from that will propel you forward!!
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Thanks for reading guys. Hit me up with your thoughts
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Happy Sunday Gang!!
As always, I hope is well with you and yours! For those unaware we are on the eve of the month of Ramadan which is a very important month for me. I don't believe in preaching so type it into your favorite search engine for more information. For me, one of the things I love MOST about Ramadan is that it gives me the time to clear my mind, cleanse my whole being and focus on what is really important..god, family and destiny. I apologize to all those close to me for those upcoming periods of crankiness :) Its just me being hungry.
This is quite a journey..this life thing. Within that grander journey we have the thing that we spend our life energy trying to achieve. The place we want to go. For all of us its different and the length of our personal-goal journey varies. As an actor you always want to "make it" yesterday. Sure, you understand that you have to work on your craft, network, do ABSOLUTELY GREAT WORK, and keep going though you wont book every audition. All that being said you still wish the journey from unknown actor to move star to be a steady (and quick) climb to the top of the Hollywood hills. When that doesn't happen, you get that healthy dose of adversity/reality that makes you look inside your heart of hearts to make certain that you are willing to make the sacrifice to do this...So you do the right thing..you know FOR A FACT that this is what you want to do with your life and you are undeterred..Great. You made a decision based on what YOU personally wanted to do with your life and whereas everyone takes ownership of that, today's post is about the other side of that coin that you MUST take ownership of..
Your journey is YOURS...and yours alone
We all have something we want to do. Hopefully. That overarching goal that guides our daily decisions and life to a large degree. When you set that goal out there, you likely thought about what you wanted to do and what you were good at and/or wanted to get really really good at. Just like that gold medal is YOURS..the journey it takes to get there is YOURS..personally yours. We are all human, guys. We are full of dreams, potential, energy, attributes, flaws, strengths, weaknesses ..all the things that make us up. Although we may choose the same or similar dreams what you have to go through in order to get to your promised land is what makes it your journey as opposed to mine. When your road gets tough from time to time, understand that this isn't god punishing you for past lives or the world singling you out. The rough times are part of your journey that YOU must go through to get somewhere. To put it in plain english, don't freak out and get negative during those times when the game isn't going quite the way you expected or wanted it to go. Those times MUST happen in order for you to develop yourself and work on the things you are lacking in order to get to the next level in your pursuit. Yeah guys, you know I keep it real on this blog and those times when you are "losing" means that you likely do NOT have all the skills necessary to achieve your dream. Not having those skills is not the problem. Not having enough humility to realize that you are not perfect, need to improve or (dare I say it) are not quite ready is the problem. Realizing that this is your journey and it will go exactly how it is supposed to go can help you put the ego aside and look at all those tough times properly. By properly I mean as a chance to go back to the drawing board and come back as a better version of you. Eventually those evolutionary times will bring you to your best self. I am not saying that your dream and journey is happenstance and you should just sit back and be a passenger. Absolutely not! More that if you have faith in your personal goal and faith in your hard work and drive your journey will eventually get to your desired destination. The ups and downs are ALL a part of it. So don't be so hard on yourself when you aren't lighting your industry on fire.
I am hard on myself all the time. Frankly, I expected to be in at least a few big films by now. I didn't expect to be a big star just yet but I expected to be able to pay my bills with money from acting by now. I expected my cousins, aunts and uncles to be able to go to their local theaters and catch me delivering a line or 5 in a nationally released film. Hasn't happened...period. The ego makes me be hard on myself. "why haven't you done this or that, Ahmad". When I accept that everything I am going through I must go through, the ego subsides and the smart inner self takes over. "This is your journey. What do you need to work on TODAY so that the journey can continue tomorrow". Now that's a much better way to look at it.
Your goal is your own! Your prize, your brass ring that you wish to grab means more to you than anyone else. When you get there, you will have a feeling that you wont quite be able to explain. How you get there is also a part of it. Trust the process..trust your gut..and understand that we all must travel a different journey to get there. Don't worry about someone else journey.. Enjoy yours!!
"You were born to be real, not to be perfect. You're here to be you, not to be what someone else wants you to be."
Thanks for reading!!
Friday, May 31, 2013
As always, I hope that this message reaches you while you are having the time of your life. After all we only get one of these :) On a personal note, I want to say good luck to all my teammates competing in the Brazilian jiu jitsu world championships. Boa Sorte!
Life as an actor is one long great journey. We all are on our own respective journeys to wherever we want to go..our own personal dreams. Regardless of what people may think, your dream is no lesser (or greater) than theirs. Over the course of your journey the distance you are from your dream will ebb and flow. One one level, once you decide on your dream and decide to put it first you will be much closer than you were when you were just, well, dreaming about this. If you have really put a lofty goal out there, you are going to go through periods where your dream seems miles away. First, KEEP WORKING. Giving up is never the answer. Second, find some small way that you can keep in touch with your dream. Some way that you can get to that will remind you of what you are going through all this sacrifice.
Whatever your dream is, break it down into a smaller, more accessible piece of the goal that will keep you focused on what is important. For example, if your dream is to have a net worth $100M, go check out a $10M Malibu beach house for sale. That's the kind of house you'll want to live in, right? It doesn't matter if you only have 10 bucks in your pocket..go check out the house. Tell the agent that you're looking to downsize and this "nice little shack" might work. Walk through the house..imagine yourself in it. Imagine your family and friends at a party you are having. Look at the view from the master bedroom. YOUR master bedroom. Think about the art you will put on the walls. Think about everything in your life..because eventually your dream can/will be your life. It doesn't matter what your dream is..artistic success, a family, owning a business FIND A WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH IT
This will help you get energized!! Your dream will seem tangible and more real than it did before when it was many miles away. It can be very powerful and remind you why you are doing this. We all have a different thing that can be that trigger..that thing that keeps you in touch. Find your thing! Your dream will play hard to get for sure..but keeping lightly in touch will help you catch it..someday. That day is up to you :)
"A mediocre person tells. A good person explains. A superior person demonstrates. A great person inspires others to see for themselves."
Thanks for reading
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I hope all is well. Its the end of April so I hope you are all getting ready for a good last 8 months of the year. Don't fret guys, that is still plenty of time for you to be all that you can be. Never forget, that I believe in you if nobody else does. So if you add me plus you, that always makes 2 people who believe :)
I'm usually not nearly as topical with my blog but a pretty major social-sports event happened recently. For the first time in US history, an active male athlete in the "Major 4" sports came out of the closet and revealed that he is gay. Southern California native Jason Collins will forever be known as a trailblazer with the path he is walking. This post is NOT about judging people who are straight or gay. Ultimately, that is YOUR business. For me, its about what path Jason was on until his destiny chose him.
The Collins twins were a big deal when I was in high school. You had two 6-11 brothers that played basketball at the ultra elite Harvard-Westlake Academy. Being 6-11 with a twin brother meant, in a simple basketball sense, that you always had someone just as big and strong as you to practice against. Wow! Coaches and scouts were salivating over them as 8th graders. All of us basketball heads played lots of travel team basketball growing up. For those unaware, in the summers kids from the same area but different high schools would get together and become a team and go around the country to play kids from other areas. We all played in front of the coaches and scouts. In reality it was just one big meat market. For us, it was fun to go test ourselves against other kids. So the day came one summer, my coach and I were walking to practice and he said "You better be ready, were playing against the Collins boys this weekend". I was excited! This was my chance to play against players who had a ton of scouts watching them which means they would be watching ME play against them. I didn't care about the 6 inches I was giving up. So the game came and I played pretty OK. I definitely scored a few times on the Collins twins. They definitely scored more than a few times on me and their team won by I think 8-10 points. Game is over, we all shake hands, good game..etc. The thought at that point was that the Collins twins were on their way to be NBA stars...
They kept playing. First at Stanford. They both made the NBA but they certainly aren't headed for the hall of fame. What none of us new at that time was that Destiny had actually chosen Jason Collins for something far more significant than the NBA hall of fame. He simply did what he enjoyed and kept playing ball. As he continued to play one day his heart, mind and destiny called. It told him that it is time for him to be all that he was. A basketball player..a black man..and a gay black man. This wasnt the destiny that all the pundits chose...but it is what destiny chose and he embraced it.
The moral..keep doing what you are doing because you NEVER know when your true destiny will choose you. I am sure he had some rough moments leading up to his decision but when his destiny came to fruition..it must have been a peaceful and great experience.
We all have choice guys. Im not saying everything is predestined. If you choose what you want to do from your heart, thats part way to your destiny. Just keep doing it...and your true destiny WILL choose you to complete the tapestry of your life..
Quote for the month
What counts is not the number of hours you put in, but how much you put in the hours.
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Greetings super heroes!
I hope you have enjoyed this years NCAA tournament as much as I have. Those players lay it on the line and go hard, which is what makes it so enjoyable to watch. It is the best sporting event in the US. Some of you who may be reading from outside the States might not get the tourney reference. Feel free to email me and I will gladly explain in detail :). Plus i'd love to "meet" you. I'm confident this weeks topic will still make sense.
The Final Four..and Your Final Four
So when all the college basketball teams get to the semi finals of their championship tournament, its called "The Final Four". These are the last four teams left in a sport that has about 300 teams vying for the title at the start of the season. The prize here is BIG..winning the NCAA title means you are the undisputed champion of this year. In life, not every victory will be as absolute as this. Its still worth going hard for. So, thinking about what you want to achieve in life lets really look at the final four things that are keeping you from your best life ever. Its ok guys, we are actually one quarter of the way through this year (aka the BEST YEAR EVER) so its fine for us to have a little group kick in the butt.
Four things that are holding back YOUR Star-life
Know thyself, gang. If you really look at your goals and objectives and why you are NOT achieving them it will come down to you and what YOU need to do. Always understand the answer comes from within. This column is not about family, friends and comparable life things :). This is about the achieving aspects of your life. Your job..your career..your luxurious dreams. So here are your final four things to GET RIGHT
1. Stop Procrastinating
Get over yourself. We always put off til tomorrow what we can do right now. Procrastinating from doing what you know you need to do is what holds us all back. Stop delaying your own destiny and do what you need to do.
2. Take responsibility
Before you blame a single person or thing for what you are not achieving..look at yourself. Take a look in the mirror and say that "I am the reason and I need to adjust what I am doing". Adjust in order to get things right.
3. Get the knowledge
Develop the skills and grow as a person in order to grow in your field. Whatever you think of yourself, you are were you are in your business relative to your skills and knowledge. If thats lacking, acknowledge it and get it fixed. There is nothing wrong with seeking it out from others..
4.Put IT first
Make your main thing your main thing. It seems simple but when you have those rough periods on the way to your goals, its amazing how often that corresponds with you losing focus. Put IT first. Whatever it is make sure its what you spend your time on. So long as its worthwhile, the time in will reward you.
That wasnt so bad :) Just a little reminder as that you are both your own worst enemy and your greatest friend. Remember that
Wisdom of the week
"Sometimes its better to be lucky than good"
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Were all in the swing of things this year and it is shaping up to be the best year of our collective lives. Its always good to talk to you guys for a second. Let me also send good wishes to your friends and families.
I hope you all enjoyed The Academy Awards. It is the biggest single night in my profession and cannot be missed by anyone who calls themselves an actor. When you watch it from afar, Oscar night is a great time to take a good look in the mirror and realize how far you are from that level of the game. Its humbling to be sure and that's good for you from time to time. After you take your medicine you can think about what you need to do to achieve your dream of being nominated for your respective Oscar. Whatever it is, make sure it is something big and worth your life energy. Make it extremely lofty but not unattainable. Then again, nothing is unattainable.
I will always love watching The Oscars. Although I am not quite there yet, I still am excited for the day that I attend the event as a presenter :) Its going to come as the result of a lot of consistent hard work, fun and continuous self development. This is the nature of trying to be the best artist that you can be. Humbly but excitedly I go forward with a few lessons that I picked up from this years Oscars.
Lesson 1: Don't hide your desire from yourself
Whatever your personal Oscar moment is, ADMIT IT :) You can hide it from others if you want but be honest with yourself about how you feel about. It will provide you the fuel needed to get there. The limos, meeting people I look up to, the red carpet (even with silly questions), wearing a tuxedo that costs more than my first car..all that stuff, I totally want that experience one day. It looks fun and is the definition of the party that "all the cool kids are invited to". By itself it should not define your career but if you really want it..WANT IT and acknowledge that.
Lesson 2: It takes a team to get there..thank them when you do
One of the best things about the show are all the thank you speeches. One thing it took me forever to realize is that you cant do it alone in a business like this. You need a team but it is your responsibility to build the best "team" you can. Martin Landau was interviewed walking into an after party and to the question of what he was excited about tonight he responded with "I'm excited to see some old friends". Whatever your field it should be like that for you. Any business/industry is a mix of friends and rivals.Our human competitive nature means we are always excited to call someone a rival because it means we can beat them. Be just as excited to call people friends..all you have to do is thank them and help them like they help you. You need both friends and rivals to get anywhere.
Lesson 3: No matter where you are today, you can get there tomorrow
As big of a gathering of stars as the Oscars are, there is always one person who ends up stealing the show and being THE star for the night. This year, Jennifer Lawrence was clearly the star of stars. Seemingly everything that night worked out well for her. Even when she fell, it made her look good with how it happened and how she recovered. Awesome for her and I wish her even more success than she has already had. The bigger take away...5 years ago she was just an actor grinding to make her dream happen. Think about that. In that short amount of time she is at the top of her business. It wasn't accidental for sure. Lots of work, luck, work, a great team, living right, going for it, sacrifice..etc. Now if told you in 5 years you could achieve your personal Oscar moment, wouldn't that fire you up? Yeah...me too.
Everyone has personal "I made it" moments in their life and career. Buying a house..an exotic vacation or car. Or maybe its the big big promotion, corner office or moving your start-up company into a bigger space. Find your moment and go after it. It will take sacrifice to get there..but so long as your Oscar is worth it, the sacrifice will be worth it .
Quote for today
“I always wanted to be somebody. If I made it, it's half because I was game enough to take a lot of punishment along the way and half because there were a lot of people who cared enough to help me.”
Thanks for reading guys. My hope is always that if we all go for what we want..we can inspire each other to the heights we all dream of. Have a great day!! Hit me up with any questions and comments.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Happy New Year!!
Greetings everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday. I want to first thank those people who asked about no posts in December :) With my birthday and the holiday season I feel like people have important stuff to do with their families and loved ones as opposed to reading what I have to say. That said, the moviestar chronicle isn't going anywhere!! I'm going to continue to write about my journey as an actor and positive views on life and success for a long time. I expect this year to be the biggest year yet for my acting career (hear that, acting gods?) so I'm looking forward to telling you more stories about that. Ideally, my last post might be the day I am nominated for an academy award. That would be an amazing culmination of this part of the story..but hey, who knows. I appreciate all of you for reading. BTW Check out the newly redesigned www.ahmadruss.com when you have time.
2013 is here which means we humans have been granted more time to pursue our respective dreams and destiny! Gosh..I LOVE new years. I purposely didn't want to write to you on Jan 1 because I didn't want to get caught up in the "resolution crowd". I believe new years resolutions DON'T work. Generally anything you decide to do after the 5 glass of champagne wont last. So now a few days into the year, lets talk about how you and I are going to make this the best of 2013. I am big on goal setting and you can find that information in the archives. Take a look and set some goals. Today isn't as formal and regimented as that. Today is about a few simple ideas that will put you in a position to have a much better year this year than last. If you can add these simple things to your life plan..good stuff will come..I promise :)
1. Find one new-old thing each month to be thankful for
You arent the first or only person to take things for granted. Its a bad habit we all have. Sometimes by going against a bad habit, the result can be immediately positive. We all have things that dont go our way..you wont always get the job, house, car, boy/girl, award that you want. Its easy to focus on this. So easy that we forget whats going RIGHT in our lives. So grab your calendar and set a recurring event each month to find something in your life to be thankful for. Acknowledge it..say it out loud and then write it down in a journal or notepad. Nothing long, just a couple of sentences. Later in the year you will enjoy reviewing what you are thankful for.
2. Resolve unfinished business with at least 1 friend and 1 family member
This is a pretty vague one..but its intended to be. You have friends and family members with whom you have something important to deal with. If you are honest with yourself, you can probably think of more than 2 right now. Deal with those people! If you have to apologize, do that. If you are going to demand an apology, do that. If you need to say something to them that weighs on your mind, do it and get that weight off of your mind. The action from your end may be positive or negative and the resolution, through their response, may be positive or negative. That is fine. You guys will have a better relationship going forward and you can turn your mind towards other things. I realize we all have more than 2 people in this category. If you are so motivated to deal with more..great. Just 2 will be a big improvement
3. Identify and do 1 specific thing that will move your career/job forward
I'm an actor. Some of you are portfolio managers, accountants, car salesmen and teachers. We are all responsible for knowing our respective industries and jobs. Most of us have high aspirations and want to continue to move "up" in our fields. There are a lot of things that you need to do to make significant career jumps. Keep working on the "lot of things" but identify 1 specific thing that by itself would represent a step forward for you. I don't know all of your fields but for me, getting a 2-3 line part on a network TV show is 1 specific (and doable) thing that represents a step forward for me in my field. It will not mean I am a household name or rich and famous but if I can do that this year, I will have taken a step forward. There are much bigger goals in my field, sure, but this small thing would make this year by definition better than last year. **For those that don't like their jobs at all..stay tuned for a full post this month to help you specifically.
4. Add one small weekly fitness item this year
No surprise here, you guys know I believe in being as fit as you can be. Some of us get fit in the cage, some of us run marathons. You don't have to do either but add a little something to your current life to help get you into the mindset for fitness. Take the stairs. Walk a mile or two. Do 10 push ups and sit ups a night. Those small things by themselves wont get you in great shape but they will start to break down whatever barriers you have internally that prevent you from being in the best shape you can be in. It doesn't have to be something I pick..but you do have to pick something
5. Do one thing for fun each month
Easy right? Do one thing each month (set it on your calendar guys) with the only idea of it being fun. Not for competition, not for money or for your job. Just something that's fun for YOU. Even better if you search for new things that you haven't done before. Get friends and family involved or do it by yourself. Just anything that is so fun that it takes you out of your every day mind frame. Smile..laugh..play..whatever it is you think is fun..make a little time for that.
**guys..all this stuff might take 1-2 days a month out of your oh so busy schedule. That's not much time when you really think about it. The rewards for you will be MUCH greater and you will have a better this year than last. Isn't that what we all want??
Quote to live by
"Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing"
Thanks for reading!! Happy 2013!