In 1952, when Warren Buffett was 20 years old, he discovered that one of his personal heroes, Benjamin Graham (author of "The Intelligent Investor") was on the board of GEICO insurance. He took a Saturday train to GEICO's headquarters in Washington, DC, and banged on the door until a janitor let him in. Once inside, he met Lorimer Davidson, GEICO's Vice Presdient, and the two of them talked about the insurance industry for a few hours.
This was not Buffett's first foray into the business world, of course, but to me it shows a point of character that a lot of people should cultivate. Buffett learned something, allowed himself to get excited about it, then jumped into action. And because of that, he ended up making a strong connection with someone that could help him with his goals. And now Warren Buffett is consistently ranked as one of the top three richest men on the planet.
This story brought to mind the story of Steven Spielberg, who snuck onto the lot of Universal Studios dressed in a suit and carrying a briefcase, both on loan from his father (the briefcase, by the way, contained his lunch). Spielberg had been to the lot hundreds of times, usually taking the tram tour. The guards had begun to recognize him. And so, with his suit and briefcase in hand, he simply waved to the guards as he walked through the gate, and no one ever questioned why he was there. He located an empty trailer and posted a hand-written sign on the door that read, "Steven Spielberg - Producer."
The point is, people who want incredible things often take incredible measures to get them. It's the guy with the balls to walk onto a studio lot or into the offices of one of the nation's biggest insurance companies who gets the breaks. The guy who asks for exactly what he wants, or steps into the role of who he wants to be as if he's always been entitled to it, that's the guy who becomes a legend.
Doing things the "accpeted" way ... when has that ever gotten anyone the title of "third richest man in the world," or "multiple award-winning producer and director?" Is it the guy who "plays ball" who ends up being a Tom Hanks or Warren Buffett or Steven Spielberg or Richard Branson? None of these guys was born into what he became. Each made his place in the world by taking risks, being audacious, and picking up again and again to try over and over.
Today, right now, decide what you want to do. Write a letter to your heroes, and ask them to give you personal and pointed advice about becoming who and what you want to be. Get in your car (or on a train or a plane) and go knock on the door of someone you admire, just to ask them how they did it, and how you can do it too. Go bang on the door of a company you've always wanted to work for and ask them what you can do to start working for them RIGHT NOW.
If you get a rejection, what did you lose? You didn't have the advice, the job, the opportunity, the contract before you took the risk. So you don't have it after ... so what?
But if you get accepted? If you win? If you get the job? If you make a powerful new friend? If you get the client or the role or the opporutnity you were after?
You've risked nothing and gained everything. Anyone who knows anything will tell you that's a good deal. Warren Buffet would tell you it's the secret to an incredible life.