Los Angeles: Opportunity vs. Opportunistic
Fifteen years later and I'm still here. So many times I was ready to go because the fight here can be fairly tough. But there is a choice...a choice of path, a choice of environment.
If you made it to Los Angeles, congratulations first off because this is truly the land of opportunity. With opportunity comes challenge and with challenge comes choice. One of the biggest challenges in LA is falling into the acceptable social norm. The comparison that usually comes to mind is Treasure Island from Pinocchio. If you don't know it brush up on your Disney Catalog. But guess what, almost everyone faces this first challenge.
And that's ok! This is where you find others who are facing the same. And if you are successful of getting out of this challenge with those people they can be friends for life! So now what? How do you overcome this and come out the other side. It's a choice. Remember what you came here to do which can be kind of hard, but pretty sure Pinocchio couldn't quite remember at first either. See where you want to be and perhaps objectively write out the steps to get there. Are you taking those steps? Is riding a roller coaster when you're 28 at midnight at Six Flags Magic Mountain for a private birthday party after six shots of tequila dressed up in a cow outfit a good step? No...but I learned this the hard way so that you don't have to.
Hard times can help you see though. As the layers peel away you see the vast opportunity this city presents...and recognizing opportunity is different than my definition of being opportunistic. My Los Angeles definition of opportunistic is choosing whats best for you at any given time whether is positively affects or negatively affects others. Have you ever committed to an individual and then found another better option and have taken that option regardless of how it affects the other person? Well that is my definition of opportunistic and not a great way to define who you are. Define who those people are in your life and open the front door and place them on the curb next to the trash or if they're made of plastic...the recycling bin. Hint: The plastic ones smell funny.
Next step...keep the good ones. Keep the ones that keep their word and give them the respect they deserve for doing so. It's an opportunity to make a choice to surround yourself with positive individuals. Most likely those positive individuals will keep you on track with what you first came here to do...whatever it was when you left the East Coast or Kansas or Asia/Europe, because I'm guessing you didn't come here to pretend to be famous/successful. You didn't say, "Grandma, I'm going to live in LA one day and on Thursday nights I'll be up till 2am at a house party with that guy who was a child star who hasn't worked in a few years but he's gonna make a come back on that new HBO series or is it Netflix...anyways he gave me his number...blah, blah, blah."
Point is...with the opportunity to achieve comes challenges, and with challenges come choices. So check in with yourself and ask, am I making good choices? Be ready to fail and face more challenges with more opportunities to make good choices. Its time to move on, time to get goin'...what lies ahead you have no way of knowing, and that's ok. I stole that from Tom Petty.
LA will slap you in the face with surprises, but keep your head down and make good choices and the most rewarding part is once you learn which choices are the right ones...you can take the opportunity to help Los Angeles new comers...do the same.