The Odds Are Against You...
People (and not just any people; people who were supposed to support and love and understand me) always told me that the odds of my succeeding any number of things I've come up with are "a million to one."
And for a while, I listened.
And then, for some reason one day, I just stopped caring. I couldn't see why I'd let one million people who did it wrong stop me from at least trying.
I loved making web pages during the infancy of the web. Everyone said there was no future in it. It wasn't even as solid a hobby as drawing comics (which also got me called things like "loser" and "fag", which is why I stopped drawing -- a terrible mistake I'm working to correct).
But then one day, I thought "well, if there's no future in it, there's nothing to lose from just doing it." I answered an ad from a huge corporation needing someone be a "webmaster". The next day, I quit college and had a career. What are the odds? They're precisely dick. There are no odds. There's just what you do cause you know it's right.
I always loved to write. I've kept a journal since I was 12 years old. "You just think you're Henry Rollins," some people said (more than one, which is sad; I let more than one of the wrong person be that close to me). And you know what? Why couldn't I be? A smart self-starter who self-published his own work that hundreds of thousands of people read? Why not be that guy? So in 2002, I stopped listening to all the reasons why I shouldn't do it and I did it. I wrote a book on the internet (you know, that thing there was no future in back when I was 18?) and not only did people read it, tens of thousands bought the self-published version. Then, I got a book deal with Penguin. You know the odds of that happening? I don't. Cause fuck the odds.
In 2009, I was so overcome by the beauty of an original background from my collection of original Akira production art that I decided the whole world needed to see all this amazing art. I had no idea whatsoever how to do that. I called dozens of museums and art galleries; no one saw the point. Then I stumbled upon Toonseum in Pittsburgh through my friend Ed Piskor. They helped me organize the first showing, because they saw the magic. To date, roughly 30,000 people have now seen the original artifacts from a film they love, and millions have seen the scans and photos online. And we're just getting started.
"The odds are a million to one that you'll succeed!" All that means is that a million people got it wrong.
Fuck a million wrong people. More than a million people voted for every single congress person who has cheated on his or her spouse, stolen money, or otherwise gone down in flames. More than a million people bought a Zune. More than a million people saw Gigli in the theater.
Nickelback has sold more than a million copies of their albums.
A million people fuck up all the time. And you know what? Fuck anyone who decides to compare you to them. They're wrong.
And the truth is, those one million failures? They probably aren't actually failures per se; they're failures against a measurement set by someone else. "The odds are a million to one you'll get published by Penguin." But the odds aren't a million to one you can get published. In fact, the odds are 1:1 -- Go to lulu.com and upload your book and boom, you're published. Good job.
The odds of you selling a million copies of that book? That's a million to one. But if that's your measurement of success, you're just as stupid as the people who try to make themselves feel better by holding you down and reminding you of the odds all the goddamn time.
Do what you are meant to do, because you were meant to do it -- and let other peoples' definition of success be the last thing on your mind when you do it.