Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.

At first take, one might not presume that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be a source for aphorisms, but today’s marks the third of his that I have found compelling, and my favorite prior, was:

“Not only do I think being nice and kind is easy but being kind, in my opinion, is important.”

Dwayne is readying his presidential campaign for 2024 and the more of his philosophy on life that I discover, the more I admire him as a person.

Today’s quotation reminded me of another turn of opinion for me and that is the day Gregg and I went to a Producer’s Guild interview with Tom Cruise. I remember distinctly driving to Culver City thinking, “this egomaniacal jerk who jumps on couches on Oprah, why am I driving all the way to Culver City to watch him be interviewed… what could possibly be available to learn from him?” 

In that interview, my opinion of Tom Cruise turned on a dime. Like many celebrities, I wish I did not have exposure to them as people in the limelight, as the couch jumping incident proved, but listening to him speak, I heard a lot of myself in what he was saying. He shared that on the film Taps, he was just starting out, and he would make it a point to talk extensively with every person on the crew, learning about what they do and how they do it and why. As Tom reflected on his lack of desire to sit in a trailer and instead be out trying, learning, exploring, working, improving, it became very apparent why he was the ONLY actor to work with Spielberg, Scorcese, Stone, Kubrick, Eastwood, and, and, and….  It became very clear that the Jerry McGuire infectious personality was very much a part of Tom and he was determined to learn, work, try harder and work at it again. I have stopped thinking poorly of him as I did prior to the interview.

I cannot tell you whether a celebrity makes a good president or not. We have had two of them, both a far cry from the mark, in my humble opinion. But I can tell you that someone who thinks philosophically like Dwayne Johnson certainly needs to be a BIG voice in the arena. We are headed into a really ugly chapter with formations of the Anglo Saxon Caucus (another name for the KKK) happening in Washington D.C. this week. There is an intense bigotry and hatred that has fermented to the surface and once again it has reared its ugly head, after our country fought so hard in Germany last century to extinguish it. There are real Nazis throughout the United States and in our government and they are mobilizing rapidly and openly.

Staying humble and hungry in the face of success is an interesting hurdle that few accomplish. But watching the few who are able to master that quality and perfect it past an act, into a genuine way of life… those are masters worth learning from. 

Lest ye end up like Groucho Marx, who snarked….. The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!