Be Willing to Take Risks
I was born and raised in Bishop, CA. When my parents separated, we moved a lot when I was growing up. I lived in several states; North Carolina, Colorado, California, and Florida. I went to six different high schools.
Sometimes it was hard to make friends, but that’s what made it challenging. People tend to get too comfortable with normal, everyday, living. I had to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. It changes your dynamics, but it helps you grow and adapt to the real world. I believe that parents protect their kids too much by not getting them out of their comfort zone.
My Dad was a professional stunt man and I lived with him. I was interested in a lot of things; art, skiing, motor crossing, exploring, shooting guns, riding bikes, climbing trees, riding jets. . . I shot guns every day, fished, rode bicycles, skied and climbed mountains.
I was making movies and racing cars professionally while I was in high school. I had a good career in film while I was a junior in high school and racing cars professionally while I was a senior. My Dad wanted me to go to college, so I went for one semester.
Unless you want to be a lawyer, scientist or an accountant, I don’t believe you need a college education. You can do more if you work hard. I don’t believe in wasting time with something that doesn’t teach you about the real world. You do need education for certain careers, but for the most part, people underestimate their abilities and what it actually takes for them to accomplish their dreams.
Most of the billionaires I know never finished high school, let alone college.
What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?
I never really ‘decided’ on my dreams, I’ve always done what I loved to do and my career as a stunt man evolved from that. I’ve been in over 250 movies such as Jurassic Park III, Terminator 5 and Spiderman and stunt doubled for many actors, including Leonardo Dicaprio, Juaquin Phoenix and Luke Perry.
I started NASCAR racing when I was 17. Every kid loves race cars. I grew up in extreme sports – ski racing, motocross, mountain biking, DMX – anything we could race.
What were the specific obstacles that you faced?
As a stunt man and extreme sports professional, I don’t have fear. I am committed to what I do and consciously make the effort because I believe I can do it. I don’t worry about it, because I know that most people who dream, they dream big. Those that don’t, are stuck in their same scenarios and make excuses.
Most people are their own obstacle. They haven’t learned how to maximize their time and be efficient, to use every second of every hour to do what it takes.
How did you get through them?
I know people who don’t put in the work that it takes. They think they do, but they don’t really make sacrifices. You have to be willing to take risks and put in the hard work. You have to risk sleep, pull overnighters, work days and days on end. Sometimes realizing your dream may not take one or two years, but 10 or 15 years to become reality.
Were there people that tried to discourage you?
There will be people who will question what you are doing because they don’t understand. My parents always had questions about what I was doing.
People will ask, ‘What makes you think you can do that? No one has done it before.’
At the end of the day, a lot of people don’t have support they need to do what they want. You must be your own support. You have to get through the criticism, know what you want and pursue it. People will tell you that you can’t, ask why are you doing it and say that you shouldn’t do it. You just have to do it because it’s what you want to do.
How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?
I’m always striving to do and be more. A lot of people like me are never satisfied because they are always trying to achieve more and be better. There’s always more out there to do. After creating one movie you want to do the next one.
What advice would you give to others that are contemplating finally living their dream?
Just do it. Don’t be afraid. If you are afraid you will not succeed. You have to be willing to risk everything, because that’s what it takes.
If I had listened to 90 percent of the people who called themselves giving me advice, I would have never accomplished most of the things I’ve done. Take what’s applicable and discard what is not. When you’re 80 years old and at the end of your life, you will have to answer to yourself why you didn’t live your dream, or try to do what you wanted to do.
Remember, the person who tried to stop you from succeeding will not be there 60 years from now. You have to live your dream. Set out to do it and risk it all to make it happen. It takes a lot of sacrifice. Pursuing your dream is not a 9-5 job.
Extraordinary people do extraordinary things. They dare to dream and dare to make it happen.
Read more about Stanton here.