The amazingly inspirational success story of Sylvester Stallone



By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)

One of the greatest stories of perseverance and eventual success is that of Sylvester Stallone. Today he is one of the most famous names in Hollywood having starred in several hit movies. But behind his success is a story of incredible struggle to reach where he is today. You see things didn’t exactly go his way in the beginning. Due to a complications during his birth, a portion of his face was paralyzed and also resulted in him having a slurred speech. When he went to agents, most of them made fun of this fact and told him it would never happen.

Even after struggling for years all he got was bits and piece roles that were utterly forgettable. This went on for years, and he got rejection after rejection. His financial situation was horrible and he had very little money to run the house. His wife kept screaming at him to find a job but he just didn’t want to quit. The worst phase of his life came when he had no money to feed his best friend, his dog and he had to sell it just to ensure the dog didn’t die out of starvation. That night he came home and cried.

That was the lowest point of his life, but two weeks later it was all about to change. He watched a match between Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer in the world at that time and Chuck Wepner, an absolute unknown who nobody thought had any chance.

To the shock of everyone, Chuck Wepner almost beat Ali and lasted 15 rounds with him. This gave Stallone a movie idea. What if there was a movie about an absolute underdog boxer who had a once in a lifetime opportunity to face the world champion and possibly change his life forever. He went home and stayed up for three straight days and finished the script. He titled it Rocky.

He began to try to sell the script to many producers with enormous numbers of rejections. This went on for months. But he applied his persistence again and kept pursuing this story that he had written. Eventually he met two producers who loved the script and agreed to produce the movie. They also offered him $100,000 for the script. Stallone was very happy, but right at the end of the meeting he said he wanted to play the lead role. They declined and told him he was a writer not an actor. Stallone disagreed and told them he was an actor. When they would not agree to cast him, he declined their offer of over $100 000 for the script, despite his current poverty.

A couple of weeks later they contacted him with an offer of 150,000 and Stallone still insisted that he play Rocky. They once again declined. Later, they contacted him over and over again with offers of 200,000 dollars, 250000 dollars and even 300,000 dollars. But, each time he refused to sell the script as they would not cast him in the lead role.

Was he crazy? This man was so poor, he didn’t even have money to eat. But he kept turning down their offers. Any other person in his situation would have taken that offer, but not Stallone. The desire to fulfill his dream of becoming a movie star was greater than temptation of the immediate gratification offered by the huge money.

It was clear to the producers that no amount of money was going to make him give up his dream. So finally, they agreed to cast him in the lead role. But to minimize their risk of casting an unknown actor, they only offered him $25000. Stallone immediately agreed. The first thing he did was go back to the man whom he sold his dog to and bought the dog back for $15000 dollars and then started preparing for the film.

Of course we all know what happened with the Rocky movie. It became a smash hit and turned Stallone into a household name. It was also almost universally acclaimed by the critics. It also won Academy Award for best picture in 1976. Rocky has become a timeless film, which continues to inspire people to this day. How’s that for a story of triumph? Now what can you learn from this story?

There is nothing in the world that can stop you,. It is not your ethnicity, it is not your gender, it isn’t your age, it isn’t a disability and it certainly isn’t your current economic condition. The only thing that can stop you is lack of your own will to succeed.

Don’t be disheartened when things are hard. If they were easy, everyone would do it. The harder the path you traverse, the greater your story shall be, for you shall become an inspiration to everyone else who wants to walk that path. But to become an inspiration to others, you must first yourself be inspired enough to complete the journey, no matter how tough it is. Just look at Stallone, he completed that journey and is now an inspiration to millions and lives his dream.

About the author

The events of this story have been narrated by Stallone and the producers of Rocky several times.

The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times,, Leicester Mercury and many others.

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