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Write Yourself a Check

Share This article Comedic actor Jim Carrey grew up in a family so poor that for a time they lived in their Volkswagen van on a relative's lawn. But Carrey believed in his future even when it may have seemed likely he would follow his parents in poverty.

From a young age, Carrey knew he had a greater calling to follow; when he was a mere 10 years old, he even mailed his resume to The Carol Burnett Show. And that sense of hope continued as Jim got older.

The story is told that one night in 1990 when Jim Carrey was a struggling young comic trying to make his way in Los Angeles, he drove his old beat-up Toyota to the top of a hill. While sitting there, broke, looking down over the city, and dreaming of his future, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, put in the notation line 'for acting services rendered,' and dated it for Thanksgiving 1995. He stuck that check in his wallet - and the rest, as they say, is history.

By 1995, Jim had seen the tremendous success of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, The Mask and my personal favorite, Liar, Liar. His per film fee at that point had escalated to $20 million.

Was writing that check just a meaningless trick or did it really set the stage in some way for his eventual success?

When I had the IRS knocking at my door and we were losing our house, I kept a $100 bill in my wallet. No matter how broke we were, I knew I had that $100 in my pocket. I am convinced that little tactic helped me stay optimistic when everything else seemed hopeless. As a reminder of that I have freely given that $100 away many times to others who were struggling for hope.

What are you doing to direct your thinking toward the future you want? Are you calmly accepting your current circumstances as the best that's available? Does your family background really limit your opportunities now? Does dropping out of college mean you're locked into low paying jobs - or could you pursue your dream anyway and join the ranks of some other college drop-outs like Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Maya Angelou? (Yes, Maya's received several honorary doctorates, but never completed college.) Could you trick your mind into expecting success even with the obstacles you think you have?

Don't wait on luck, winning the lottery or for that rich uncle to die. Just decide what you want your future to be and then get busy creating it. Maybe you need to write yourself a check and put a date on it for when you plan on cashing in.

I dream for a living. —Steven Spielberg

Bored and Underpaid

The traditional workplace continues to deteriorate as workers and employers realize their multiple options. A new survey by reports that U.S. workers waste about 20 percent of their working day.

I'm not even surprised anymore when I have people tell me how much time they're wasting at work. Just this week a young man told me he probably spends two hours a day working and the rest of the time just pretending he's working.

It should be no surprise that personal Internet use tops the list of time-wasting activities. Since nearly everyone's job involves being on the computer, how can a person be criticized when he or she is glued to the screen? But that time on the computer may just as likely be spent running an eBay business, communicating with old high school friends, or scanning for a new job.

The main reasons given for wasting time were boredom, a lack of challenging work, and not having enough to do. In a related note, we all know employees can sue for discrimination or sexual harassment, but did you know they can now also sue for negligent evaluation or deprivation of career opportunity?

Is it any surprise that employers are rushing to pay for results rather than time and to use independent contractors rather than employees?

There is little right or wrong here - just realize that for whichever side of this issue you're on, there are opportunities that are forever changing the old work models. Don't get caught in thinking things will stay the same. If you are an employee, rest assured your job will change. If you are an employer, be creative about ways to pay for productivity.

48 Days Online Radio Show

Thanks for the variety of interesting questions you are submitting each week. As you know, I then scan through and answer as many as possible in each weeks 48-Minute podcast. If you could please keep your questions to about 50 words they are much more likely to make it into the lineup!

Just click on this e-mail link and you can ask about resumes, interviewing, at-home business or finding your purpose in life:

If you click on the 48 Days Podcast Player here you can listen to this weeks broadcast immediately no downloading no wait.

Humor: Open Mouth; Insert Foot

A lawyer had successfully handled a difficult law case for a wealthy friend. Following the happy outcome of the case, the friend and client called on the lawyer, expressed his appreciation of his work, and handed him a handsome Moroccan leather wallet.

The lawyer looked at the wallet in astonishment and handed it back with a sharp reminder that a wallet could not possibly compensate him for his services. "My fee for that work," snapped the attorney, "is $500."

The client opened the wallet, removed a one-thousand dollar bill, replaced it with a five-hundred dollar bill and handed it back to the lawyer with a smile.

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