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Following the Rules

What Tracy Morgan Teaches Us About Taking Action

Tracy Morgan is a man who can get things done, even when the world is shouting him down. The people in your life, especially your parents, love to tell you to take the safe route, and it’s because they love you, but their advice and protection can also be crippling. Here are four things Tracy Morgan did in his life that will help move yours forward, inspired by his book I Am The New Black.

Tracy Morgan is never afraid to have a good time.

1.    Your starting situation doesn’t matter

Tracy started as just another kid in the ghetto, but he rose above it to become a celebrity and multimillionaire. Tracy Morgan’s father was a heroin addict who caught AIDS, and most of his friends were in gangs. Tracy even dealt drugs for a period, but once success got into his head, he didn’t stop working until his past situation was a distant memory.

You can do the same thing. Don’t let where you are now hold you back. Past action dictates future behavior and present action creates past action; so don’t be afraid to start. If Tracy Morgan could make it in comedy while surrounded by drugs, disease, and violence, think how much easier it will be for you.

2.    Do what you’re good at

Tracy Morgan found his passion early and stuck with it. The comedy snake first bit him when he was in elementary school, and he fostered it ever since.

If you don’t have any idea about what to do, it isn’t useful to follow your dreams. I’ll give you one bit of advice from Ramit Sethi: most of the time, passion comes from learning more about your interests.

Finding what you love does not come from sitting around, but by exploring new ideas. If you like planes, buy a book about flying, if it’s psychology, Google “best books on psychology” and pick one up. If you don’t find it interesting after the first 50 pages throw the book away and find a new topic. Most authors have bibliographies where they recommend new books, read those if you’re still interested. The more you learn about a subject, the better you’re going to like it.

3.    Find and listen to your mentors

Tracy Morgan’s first mentor was his father, and while he probably wasn’t the best influence, it got Morgan used to looking up to people. Sometimes we get into this habit of wanting to go at it alone and not listening to the great advice around us, this is a mistake.

The best way you can deliver value to somebody of higher status is by doing what they say. Send a cold email to somebody you admire, don’t explicitly ask him to be your mentor, but ask him for some specific advice. Once he responds, email him a thank you, then put whatever he says into action. Send him an email a few weeks later telling him how the advice is working out and you are half way to having a mentor.

4.    Spread your ideas

Tracy Morgan lived a fascinating life: he started with nothing, moved up the ranks, got onto SNL, and finally got the starring role in an Emmy winning TV show. He had a story to tell, and he told it.

If you have no original ideas or thoughts, here is the solution: read books. I know it sucks but it works and the content is worth the initial struggle.

Most original ideas are just complied and popularized versions of hard to read thoughts outlined in long boring books. By reading those you’ll see where the inspiration behind you favorite blog comes from, and you can start to write your own.

Blogs are great for learning ideas in condensed form, but books will give you the power to combine and create new ones. Once they form, spread them.

Did you find this helpful? Tell me your three biggest insights in the comments.

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