What’s left to do after dominating the WWE with 17 championship reigns and then subsequently becoming one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood (in fact, the top-grossing actor of 2013, bringing in $1.3 billion worldwide)? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s answer is simple:
“I want the world.”
But in order to become the $100 million icon of ambition that he is today, Johnson first had to hit rock bottom several times. He was 14 when he came home and found an eviction noticed pinned to the door:
“We were living in an efficiency that cost $120 a week…We come home, and there’s a padlock on the door and an eviction notice. My mom starts bawling. She just started crying and breaking down. ‘Where are we going to live? What are we going to do?’
Devastated, Johnson channeled his anger into bodybuilding and football (before failing as a thief). But in his freshman year, he sustained a series of injuries that spiraled him into depression. And being relegated to the Calgary Stampeders’ practice team did nothing to help. Eventually, he was cut from team altogether. At 23, Johnson’s finances were looking grim yet again:
“I looked in my pocket, and I had seven bucks. Wow…In 1995 I had $7 bucks in my pocket and knew two things: I’m broke as hell and one day I won’t be.”
The various points of despair in Johnson’s life motivated him to propel his life far away from the hurt of eviction, failure and financial destitution. He wanted better for his family and better for himself, and so he channeled all the anger into ambition once more – this time as a wrestler and then as an actor.
Today, Johnson’s ambition has sent him on a career trajectory that is rivaled only by Arnold Schwarzenegger in terms of dominating disparate industries (wrestling & blockbusters vs. bodybuilding & blockbusters, respectively).
Following only his idol Muhammad Ali on Twitter, Johnson is the physical manifestation of the desire to win. What will he cook up next? Having already begun a foray into producing inspirational television shows, it’s left to be seen what industry The Brahma Bull will bulldoze into.
The Rock says:
“When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock it… kick that bitch in, smile and introduce yourself.”
With an endless supply of ambition fueled by a deep aversion to pain, rest assured, almost nothing can stop the People’s Champ from continuing to achieve greatness.
Discover how The Rock keeps cooking over at The Hollywood Reporter.
This post was originally published on Year One.