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How to make the most of what you have

Before the new year I spent an afternoon at Narrabeen Beach (in Sydney, Australia – pictured above) as opposed to fighting crowds during post-Christmas sales. If it makes the TV news, you know ques will be like a joint Justin Bieber and One Direction concert just to go up the escalator. I’m glad I hit the waves instead. It was peaceful and inspiring. People were jogging, kayaking, kicking soccer balls around and of course, surfing. 

There was this one particular kid who would have been no more than 10 years old, absolutely tearing up the waves. He made surfing look as easy as sitting on a couch, effortless. A mini Kelly Slater if you will (Slater = 11 x time ASP World Surfing Champion). This kid has some serious skill. He loved it out there. Some waves weren’t great but he made the most of it.


We might feel that we don’t have enough money, time, support, energy, information or resources but indirectly, you do. No matter what circumstance you’re in, we all have opportunity. It’s all around you.

If you sold water in a desert for 20 years and it never rained, then suddenly it began to rain every day for months, you’d better stop selling water and start selling umbrellas.


The chances of making things happen are directly in proportion to your commitment in making them so.

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.” — Thomas J. Watson

There’s a particular celebrity story which when told to me, has always stuck in my head. This guy had a difficult childhood. Both he and younger brother Frank were adversely affected by their parents’ hostile relationship, which later ended in divorce. He spent some time in foster care. He struggled emotionally and academically. After his expulsion from several schools, he attended a special high school for troubled youth. Despite all this, he completed his degree at the University of Miami, focusing on dramatic arts then moved to New York City.

While he waited for his acting career to take off, this man worked all sorts of jobs to make ends meet. He cleaned up the lions’ cages at the Central Park Zoo, ushered at a movie theatre, and even made an appearance in an adult film.

This guy was short, average looking, had poor speech clarity and a terrible tone. The very reasons why he was rejected by over a thousand auditions and hundreds of agents.

In addition to acting, he had an interest in writing. He created a screenplay about a rough-and-tumble thug who struggles for a chance to make it as a professional boxer.

According to several reports, he refused to sell the script unless he was allowed to star in it. There were some offers to buy his script on the condition that he didn’t star in it! Despite having a pregnant wife and almost no money in the bank, he held out until he found two producers, willing to let him play the lead.

This man was Silvester Stallone. One of the most popular action stars of all time, best known for portraying boxer Rocky Balboa and Vietnam War veteran John Rambo.


  • About 35% of 7 billion people (the world’s population) use the internet and if you’re reading this, then you are part of that statistic! Meaning you have the entire internet to gather information. What a privilege! If you have a question, ask google. If you want to get inspired, look at a design blog. If you want to learn new ideas, watch TED talks or YouTube “how to” guides. Opportunities here are endless, especially for sharing information and reaching out to network.
  • Local libraries are completely free to use! There are thousands of books and you don’t need to pay a scent to borrow them. The very fact that you have benefits like these just for being a citizen of your country is already a huge advantage.
  • Nature and the outdoors can be found at your doorstep. After travelling all over the world and Sydney being my home, I still find it the most beautiful place to live in the world (admittedly a little biased!). I find happiness in discovering new restaurants, streets, walkways, beaches, activities, people and opportunities every day and so can you no matter where you are. All you have to do is look.

If you’ve got lemons then it’s time to make lemonade. How do you make the most of what you have? I’d love to know!

For more, pick up a copy of Ram Castillo’s internationally and industry-acclaimed book ‘How to Get a Job as a Designer, Guaranteed’.

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Author: Ram Castillo


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About Ram Castillo


Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, Instructor and Author of two internationally acclaimed books 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed' and 'How to get a mentor as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, and Apple.

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