Get off the Couch and Get to Work

(Me holding my Canon XL1 in 2009)

I remember being a young kid, okay a younger kid, and I had decided to build a ramp for my bike. My dad had just put in a piece of replacement plywood on a trailer in our backyard and the old piece was just lying on the ground. In my eyes it was the perfect piece of wood. It was all that I needed to build the best ramp in the world. Only one problem, it was a full sheet of 3/4 inch plywood and I was around 8 years old. My parents have a fairly large backyard, and this piece of wood was “way” in the back. So in order for me to build my awesome ramp, I had to figure out a way to get the piece of wood to the driveway in the front yard. A lot of kids would’ve asked for help or given up. Being the stubborn person I am, I did neither of those things. After thinking about it and failing to pick it up, I decided to flip it from end to end. After flipping this the piece of wood for what felt like an eternity, I finally got it to the front yard. I think I had that piece of wood for several years, and it did indeed make an awesome ramp.

Let’s fast forward a few years. I’m 14 years old and somehow I got the idea that I wanted to make movies. I spent hours on the internet looking at DIY filmmaking equipment, researching cameras, watching terrible short movies…I was hooked. I even went to the library and checked out several filmmaking books, some of which were quite strange, and read about how to make movies. After realizing that a decent quality camera was going to cost me over $1000, I knew I needed to find a way to make money. During this time I also loved to ride my bike the several miles into town to hangout with my friends. On my rides I would find pop cans, pop bottles, beer cans, and more on the side of the road. In NY these items are worth a $0.05 deposit. So I spent all year riding my bike for miles and miles, picking up these cans and bottles and putting them in a bag that I would carry with me. My dad helped me by bringing home any deposit worthy items that he could find. Over the course of the year I collected hundreds of dollars worth of aluminum and plastic, and all of this culminated to me having around $1200 in my bank account. I logged on to eBay, using my parents account, and found a Canon XL1 for $1100. After annoying my mother for several hours, I convinced her to let me purchase this wonderful camera. I waited several days, awaiting the moment that I would receive my tracking number. But it never came. I emailed the seller asking them what the deal was, and they told me they were out of the country on vacation and would ship the camera when they got back in town. My heart sunk. I was sure I had been scammed out of my hard earned money. I admitted defeat, and may have cried a little. Another week or so went by and I received an email from eBay! My purchase had been shipped! About a week later my package arrived and I had my camera in hand. I had never worked so hard for anything in my life. I used that camera for several years to make short movies, record local sporting events, shoot interviews with local officials, and more. It was the catalyst for my creativity and has directly and indirectly helped me get every job that I’ve ever had, including my latest job opportunity.

I don’t say these things to boast about my work ethic, having a good work ethic should be a given. I want to inspire you, and to remind myself, that if you want something you have to be willing to work for it. Stop waiting around and wishing for things to fall into your lap. Get off the couch, put in the work, and reap the reward.