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How Sylvester Stallone bet on himself to succeed

Haikal Kushahrin
Haikal Kushahrin
2 min read
How Sylvester Stallone bet on himself to succeed

In 1975, Sylvester Stallone was homeless, with only $106 in his pocket. Today, he’s worth over $400M.

How did he do it?

I would like you to tell a story about how he changed his life with one negotiation. This is the story about why you should always bet on yourself to succeed.

Back in 1969, Sylvester Stallone dropped out of college and decided to move to NYC to act. Everyone laughed at him and thought he would fail, as he was born with a partially paralysed face & slurred speech.

And they were right. From 1969 to 1975, Stallone failed.

He became homeless and worked as a movie theatre usher, and worked at the zoo as a lion cage cleaner to stay afloat. He even starred in a softcore pornography film at one point, with a $200 payment.

With no money to eat, he sold his beloved dog “Butkus” in front of a 7-Eleven.

He was on the verge of giving up until he experienced one event that changed his life forever.

In 1975, he watched a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner and got inspired. He spent the next three days writing a film script for Rocky.

He needed a studio to produce it, so he pitched his script to producers. The producers loved it, but they wanted to buy it. This meant that Stallone wouldn’t be involved and a more popular actor will play Rocky.

He was offered $360,000 for the script. Because he wanted the film to star him, he turned the offer down. On rejecting the offer, he said, “It was really insane at the time cause I was broke.”

He accepted $25,000 for the script rather than $360,000, with him having a starring role. He then later used $15,000 of his earnings to repurchase his dog. Butkus eventually featured in the film.

Rocky was a hit - it received 9 Oscar nominations, winning three awards, including Best Picture, and grossed over $200M. It became one of the most successful film franchises of all time. It had eight movies, the latest being Creed II, released in 2018.

Sylvester Stallone went from being a homeless man with $106 in his pocket to being worth $400M.

What did this story teach us?

If you want to succeed, you need to be able to:

1. Take a risk

2. Bet on yourself

Haikal Kushahrin

3rd-year medical student. buy me a coffee :) ko-fi.com/haikal


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