Few people know this, but the spokesperson for Dos Equis (The Most Interesting Man in the World) is actually Matt Damon’s unc—
Okay, they have nothing in common.
But the catch phrase (which is sheer brilliance) reminds me a lot of Damon. Why?
MD, as we in the business like to call him, was recently a keynote speaker at a rally for public education. Now, setting aside the fact that I agree with everything Damon said at the rally and find him to be a really cool dude (mostly because he agrees with my point-of-view on public education…oh, and the fact that he made Good Will Hunting), what struck me about his verbal undressing of the reporter who thought she’d run circles around the dumb old actor guy and score a few points for charter schools (watch the whole glorious exchange here) was his comment about what motivates him to be a better actor (or, more specifically, what doesn’t):
Clueless Reporter: In acting, there isn’t job security, there’s an incentive to work hard and be a better actor because you wanna have a job, so why isn’t it like that for teachers?
Matt Damon: You think job insecurity is what makes me work hard?
I could transcribe the whole thing, but the rest is about teachers and is beyond the point of this post (you mean there’s a POINT? the weary reader asks).
Indeed there is. Damon is clearly saying that something motivates him other than fear of losing his job or fear of being out of work. Sure, he’d probably acknowledge that he has fears—don’t most of us?—fear of failure, fear of bad reviews, fear of someone turning on the garbage disposal as I’m sticking my hand inside it to retrieve a baby spoon. But fear isn’t enough to drive most of us all the time.
Which brings me to the point (finally): You need to be thirsty.
Not just thirsty to clear the next hurdle, though you do need to be thirsty for that, but thirsty enough to compel you beyond your doubts, your worries, your fears of mangled garbage disposal fingers. Wasn’t it Poison that said, “You gotta cry tough?” I think it was. And though that has nothing to do with my point, it’s absolutely vital that you be thirsty enough and passionate enough about what you do to keep on going regardless of successes or failures.
Obviously, I look at this from a writerly standpoint. I have all sorts of hopes and dreams with writing, but I know that it’s going to take a looooong time and a lot of effort before I achieve and live them. Heck, it’s already taken a long time, and my debut novel isn’t even out yet.
But you know what? I’m still thirsty. In fact, I’m thirstier than I’ve ever been.
And for goodness’ sakes, don’t mess with Jason Bourne.