You cannot achieve greatness via standard ambition. You can’t become a legend by grazing with the herd. Genius is not achieved by playing it safe. You will never change the world by blending in. Greatness is the fruit of insane focus. It’s the act of embracing a certain kind of insanity. Of pursuing excellence where many must fall back in breathlessness and caution and the comforts of the average life. Of realising that where most give up is where you really get started. It’s working for love and loving the work. It’s giving all you’ve got to earn what you must have. It’s spotting adventure where many see fear. It’s being unafraid of your flame. It’s grueling and it’s glorious. It’s countless hours spent studying and sweating until you’re half-dead yet at your most alive. It’s a lifetime commitment to public humiliation and personal pride. It’s the compulsive, relentless search for inspiration in everything. It’s the habitual sensation of feeling the potential in each criticism, each rejection, each and every inhalation. It’s the unwavering, unremitting absolute commitment to destiny. To the spectator it’s utterly unfathomable and totally unreasonable. And to the artist, it’s the only thing that really makes sense. And to the great artist… it’s simply what it takes.
You feed what you focus on. If you focus on what you need, you will get needier. Focus on what you hate and hatred will consume you. Focus on the unfair tilt of the playing field and you will never enjoy the game. Focus on the audience member who refuses to applaud and you will miss the ovation. And if you focus on your loneliness you will isolate yourself. Instead of displaying your needs, offer your assets; rather than offering others your loneliness, offer your company. If you are bored and you are the only one there – guess what? You are boring. If you can’t enjoy your own company, why should anyone else? When the world (that you are part of) sees and feels you enjoying yourself, you will attract interest and investment – and ironically find that you need those things less and you will have put yourself in a position where you can discern what’s helpful and healthy and avoid the panic-mating and the desperate job-taking and seige-mentality that has hurt you in the past. Whatever your qualifications or history, whatever you look like, you are strong and sexy enough to enjoy yourself and not worry about the ones who don’t feel you. You are savvy enough to overthrow the dictators of self-sabotage, low self-esteem and fear of rejection. Offer up your strengths – which include your vulnerabilities – rather than your needs and you’ll see that your needs will be met. And as you get great at making offers and invitations you will find that the world is your oyster. You are both the oyster and the pearl. Open up. You are everything that’s needed. The rest is riches. Offer everything, ask for nothing. And the riches will be yours. #LoveNinja
I was born ridiculously ambitious. Since I can remember, I have been determined to change the world. Because I love the world and I love being in it. Because the world can do better. And so can I. For years I laboured away publicly and privately, the poster boy for pluck, with that little voice in the back of my mind, saying “Not bad for a black boy”. “Not bad for a gay boy”. “Not bad for a boy off the council estate”. That same voice was telling little Rikki, as many other well-meaning voices have to so many others, “If you’d been born a different demographic or in another time, you would be allowed to achieve so much more. The world would be ready, you would be welcomed. You would be a star”. That voice was whispering, “Keep going, keep trying, maybe in the next life, maybe your children”. That was the voice of brave but tragic limited thinking and noble impressive defeat. I’m not listening to that voice any more. I’m going to get on with being exactly who and what I am on this Earth to be: one of the most productive and powerful writer, director, performer, composer, choreographer, designer, producer, actor-singer-dancer, playwright, filmmaker, publisher-slash-kickass advocate mentors that ever lived. The game changer. The Love Ninja. It’s gonna take even more work, publicly and privately, and a heck of a lot more discipline. And I’m glad. I love it. Whatever is required, I’ll bring it. From here on I’m only listening to the voice that says “faster, further, fiercer, fiercer”. The voice that says “This is your time”. The voice that says “Now, Now Now”. I am going to continue to rewrite the rules and I’m going to do everything within my power and my so-far-inexhaustible energies to use my versions of art and activism to make this a better world for every single person that I possibly can, and I am going to see this orchard bear fruit in my lifetime. I was born ambitious. I will die ambitious. And I’m gonna live ambitious and get this job done. Now. Now. Now.
Writer, director, performer, composer, choreographer, designer, producer, actor-singer-dancer, playwright, filmmaker, publisher-slash-kickass advocate mentor