5 Hulk-Like Lessons of Mark Ruffalo
He is a force to be reckon with.
In an interview with Rolling Stone this actor confessed that in his young Padawan days (his twenties) he was turned down 600x in auditions… left Hollywood twice… and struggled with unbearable anxiety.
So far we tackled Captain America, Iron Man (in previous emails) – now let’s roll up our sleeves and jump into the ring with The Hulk, Oscar-nominated actor, Mark Ruffalo.
Like the others, there’s mucho to learn from this guy.
Let’s follow the green bread crumbs to see how he crawled through the rubble of life… smashed through setbacks… and emerged as the monster-sized force he is today.
Without further ado:
5 Hulk-Like Life Lessons of Mark Ruffalo
1. Don’t Celebrate Too Early
When he was 19, he scored his first acting gig in a Clearasil commercial. He felt he “made it” so he waved goodbye to his day job – stringing instruments at the guitar store. But after a couple months of splurging on fancy dinners… lending moolah to friends… and a new car stereo – he was broke again.
So he scrambled back to little jobs as a busboy, waiter, gardener, house painter- even a bartender (making an infamous drink called “The Mark-arita”)
2. Stay Firmly Grounded And Centered
All the rejection, setbacks and uncertainty was sending his anxiety out of control. His thoughts were always running – even while lying in bed. So Ruffalo started a daily practice of meditation - and found the voices in his head quieted down… he stayed grounded and was no longer swept up in his emotions… and his career started to feel different… and shift.
3. Obstacles Will Be Chucked Your Way – Never Quit Swinging
After ten years of swinging again… and again… he finally struck a surge of momentum… scoring more roles… finding his soul-mate… and then expecting his first child. But then a new challenge knocked on his doorstep, this time it was a brain tumor. As he held his new-born boy, he wasn’t sure if he’d get to see him grow up. Luckily, it was benign. But the surgery to extract it paralyzed half his face. Doctors told him it’d probably be permanent. And for close to a year it looked that way.
About a year later, while staring in the mirror, trying to move his paralyzed side, he saw his face slightly twitch and started yelling for his, “Baby! Baby I can move my face!” The two started crying because they knew then-and-there that his muscle function would return.
4. Redirect Adversity To Your Advantage
In 2008, his brother Scott (beloved Hollywood hair-stylist) was murdered - devastating everyone (especially because the case was unsolved). After his brother’s death, Mark poured himself into the movie The Kids Aren’t Alright, thinking that this was his last film. In it, he played a character similar to his brother – a role that allowed Mark to honor him. Turned out, the movie crushed it. And sent Ruffalo his first Oscar-nomination.
But it also made him make another ground-breaking realization…
5. Just Go For Broke
His brother’s death unleashed something deeper, something he held back for almost all of his life, he states:
I realized I was holding back a little bit.
So I could always say I didn’t really give it everything to myself
Now I’m like ‘Just go for broke man’. This is it.
This is it.
There’s no time to wait.
Get started today.
In the direction that makes most sense to you.
Because today is all that we’re guaranteed.
He was in a tail-spin.
His life burning to the ground... trapped in drug addiction… fired from the show Ally McBeal… and even sent to prison. No one dared to hire him. You’d never guess it today. But years ago, that was actor Robert Downey Jr.
Yet – he turned his life around… rebuilt himself… and skyrocketed to become Iron Man.
Here are four secrets that turbo-charged his comeback. Even if you don’t have dreams of being a dynamic actor (or actress)… even if you’re facing a different “enemy”… even if you don’t even like superhero movies… these four lessons (when implemented) can help you rise back up, rebuild yourself and resurrect yourself to a new level.
Here ye go:
Iron Man’s 4 Secrets to Rising From Rock-Bottom
1. Laser-Beam Focus On Taking The Next Step
Just like Tony Stark slaving away in a cave to build the original Iron Man suit. Downey’s climb out of the darkness took seven years. He rebuilt his credibility, his commitment and his self-confidence one day at a time. One movie at a time. One job at a time.
I found my way out of the woods
by a subtler and subtler trail of bread crumbs
-Robert Downey Jr.
Not Hulk-like leaps forward. Small relentless steps forward.
(Remember progress is progress)
2. You Can Always Build Your Self-Discipline Muscles
At first, Downey doubted his ability to leave a life of drugs. He knew it was wrecking everything. But kept going back. With the help of Wing Chun (Chinese martial art) he built up his concentration… laser-like focus… and inner calm. This finally busted the vice-grip that drugs had over him.
3. Knowing It’s Okay To Ask For Help
When Downey had demonstrated his commitment to staying sober, producers still had ice cold feet. They swore he’d bail out. But Mel Gibson (who had his own demons) who worked with him on a previous film – jumped to the rescue. He believed in Downey so much that he put up collateral to reassure producers.
This gave Downey his shot to star in The Singing Detective… showing audiences and Hollywood that he was heaven-bent on taking his life back. But if Downey was too proud to accept Gibson’s help, this never would have happened.
4. Total Belief That Your Skills Will Eclipse Your Past Mistakes
At first, Marvel Comics didn’t want anything to do with him. Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man, fought tooth and nail to persuade the studio to hire him. He saw Downey’s electricity. He saw his dynamite acting skills overshadowed his dark past.
Here was this force of nature,
who I think was living with this frustration
that he wasn’t able to really show what he was great at
That greatness lies within each and every one of us.
We are all forces of nature in our own way.
Find what it is for you.
And start building… rebuilding…
and creating something (or becoming someone) that you’re proud of.
Because the past does not have to equal the future.
P.S. Besides Wing Chun, there are other powerhouse techniques for quickly tapping more inner strength, inner peace, self-discipline and bringing gusto and confidence when you wake up each morning. One way is an ancient Asian technique that gives you the strength to rapidly rebound from stressful situations. Plus, studies find it develops the “happy region” (left frontal lobe) of the brain.