We expect comedians to be happy all the time. If we were to bump into them our reflex could be, “Hey, tell us a joke!”. But the reality is that they are human beings too. And just like us regular people, they are victims of sadness, perhaps even more so because they see the world in a way we do not.
And most of them have gone through the struggles we go through every day. And just because they became stars, they do not have brilliant lives – as Jim Carrey’s life teaches us perfectly.
Jim Carrey was an undiagnosed dyslexic and had to struggle a lot in school
But he did not let the learning disability deter him. He worked hard to develop a good memory so that he could remember how to learn rather than learning it through the usual way.
He wasn’t popular in school, didn’t have any friends, and used to be very quiet.
Being a dyslexic meant that he would not make a lot of friends. Add to it the fact that he was poor. Like a true child, he didn’t want other children to know about his poverty, lest they isolate him even more.
But he knew he could make people laugh. He also found out that this ability is useful in making friends.
When his mother was sick in bed, he would do his brand of funny impressions and throw himself down the stairs just to make her laugh.
He used this talent in stand up comedy and started performing at the tender age of just 15.
His father used to be a good support. He encouraged Jim Carrey’s comic bone. But his mother did not. She would get nervous when he would go all Jim Carrey and then she would send him to his room where he would practice some more.
He worked really hard. To help his family earn, he worked 8-hour shifts at a factory AFTER his schooling.
His family was dirt poor, and he supplemented his family income by working in a nearby factory. He used to be so tired that he couldn’t make any sense of what was being taught and hence he left school when he was just 16.
His family realized that things would not get any better in the USA so they moved to Canada.
You can imagine the hardship he faced – he was poor, thought he was dumb, didn’t have a normal childhood and was lonely without any relationships. But he didn’t give up. He tried harder than the others.
He used to drive to a quiet place and visualize that the best directors would want to work with him. He visualized that he would be a wanted comedy star.
He would remain positive and tell himself that the good things are out there. He just hasn’t figured out the way to that place.
“Movie offers are out there for me, I just don’t hear them yet.”
He also understood that he needed to work hard because just visualization does not work.
He gave himself a post dated check for 10 million dollars. And in 1995 he cashed it after he made Dumb and Dumber.
He got the big break with ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and eventually became the face of comedy in Hollywood. He at one point became the highest paid actor too, demanding over $20 million per film.
And he didn’t just become a popular actor, he amassed critical acclaim as a serious actor for his roles in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind.
But success didn’t bring him happiness and peace as he struggled with depression that started in his childhood
For a long time he was dependent on Prozac – an antidepressant medication to deal with it. As he became aware that he could get hooked on to them, he stopped taking them and approached the problem with spirituality.
Although he seems like he’s on meth and cocaine all the time, he has never taken alcohol, drugs
So if you thought that funny people are happy all the time, Jim Carrey is a stark example of how he developed a sense of humor to get himself out of depression. He made people laugh to get them out of sadness. And he didn’t give up when he was poor and worked a job when he should have been studying.
Jim Carrey is the classic example of rags to riches story and the story of all our lives – that life does not get “better” after we get successful. We have to keep working on it.
So if you are depressed about your life and it’s not going your way, visualize and work hard to get out of it. You may be at a really bad place, but there is no bad situation you can’t get yourself out of if you work hard and believe.