Have you seen Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards?
I’m sure you have. It’s got over 2 million views on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. I’ve watched this clip once a day since it hit the web, and I still can’t get enough of it. Why? Because I think a lot of people (myself included) are really bad at stripping their problems down to the bare bones to find a solution. I tend to feel like a difficult question must merit a complex answer, and that a trying time deserves stress and worry and sleepless nights before I can possibly come to an answer to resolve it.I have watched this clip every day because Ashton simply and wonderfully reminds me that the answers to some of the most difficult and stressful points in our life are almost always simple.
I love famous people that are actually real. Ashton actually comes from simple roots. He’s from a small town in Iowa, and originally went to college to study biochemical engineering. What a lot of people don’t know is that his real name is Chris, and that he only started going by Ashton once he moved to LA to try and make it in the modeling and television world. In Kutcher’s Teen Choice acceptance speech, he talks about 3 things he learned when he was still Chris.
#1 Opportunity looks a lot like hard work
Major truth bomb here folks. And a lot of times it’s the opportunities we don’t necessarily want and the work we’d rather not do that leads us to that next step.
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” Kutcher began with his first point. “When I was 13, I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof, and then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant, and then I got a job in a grocery store deli, and then I got a job at a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground.”
He went on: “And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.”
If we train ourselves to see work as opportunity then Ashton’s right, we should always feel grateful. And if you think you’re above something, you’re not. You really are not. No one is. Learn to see “work” as an opportunity and a stepping stone like Kutcher did and I bet it’ll take you to all the places you’ve ever wanted to go.
#2 Always be sexy
“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart,” Kutcher said to cheers. “And being thoughtful, and being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you. It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it! Be smart, be thoughtful and be generous.”
After all his time in the industry as a sex symbol, Kutcher tells us that all that stuff we’re being sold about sexiness is wrong, and that the sexiest thing in the world is to be smart, and to be thoughtful, and to be generous. I could not agree more. I have met some really beautiful people on the outside with a hideous inside, simply because they have believed what society has tried to tell us about what sexy is. So do as Ashton says, be sexy. Care for people, help people, be compassionate, and be giving, and forget the rest, because it’s just garbage.
#3 Build a life — don’t live one
Ashton tells us that we’re told what we’re suppose to want out of life, what we should expect, and that we should just stick to what’s been drawn out and try not to cause too much commotion. That people before us or “superior” to us have paved that way for what it’s like to “live your life” and that we should stay inside those pre-set parameters. To which he then says,
“Everything around us that we call life was made up of people that are no smarter than you,” he said. “And you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life — don’t live one, build one.”
A way of life or a way to live life was once new to someone somewhere, and that someone somewhere, as Ashton said, was no smarter than you. They didn’t have life and all its meaning figured out, they were just as confused and lost as you and I are. So don’t let the parameters of others dictate how you go about living your life. Build a life around the things that are most important to you, build it on solid foundations that can weather the storm when the winds get heavy, and build it on principles you’d be happy to share with others.
So to Ashton I say thank you. Thank you for reminding me that all of my wildest dreams can come true with the simplest of solutions. And to you I say: think about Ashton’s 3 points; incorporate them into your life and when you get somewhere you only used to dream of, never forget what it took to get there.