“Go get it.”— Chris Pratt

While in transit in Atlanta, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 star Chris Pratt posted an inspiring message to “anyone chasing a dream” on Instagram. After describing his intensive work pace due to knocking out both the Guardians sequel and the sci-fi film Passengers at once, he reflects on his younger days before he found success as an actor.

“It’s 3:20am. I got picked up for work at 6:45am yesterday. I’m not good with math, especially after being up for approximately 61 hours but I think I’ve been up for over 77 hours. I did a table read for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 this morning and shot all day on Passengers and just now wrapped some 144 hours later. Weirdly both films, which il’l be shooting back to back, are being shot in Atlanta at Pinewood studios. We have the best crew. Total rock stars busting their asses. And the stuff we’re shooting. My God. I can’t wait for you to see it. I go back in in about 8 hours to do more. I am doing what I love. It doesn’t feel like work. Even though it is. I’m having fun. I’m overcome with joy and gratitude. I felt like posting this to say to anyone out there chasing your dream… Fifteen years ago I felt the same passion I feel today, but I had very little opportunity. I had to hustle hard and go hungry. I had to eat sardines and figure out how to get gas money. And I never had a plan B. I never stopped believing. Ever. Don’t give up. Apply constant pressure for as long as it takes. It will break before you do. Go get it.”

Before his career took off, Pratt was a college dropout, sold discount tickets, and dabbled in daytime stripping. But when a friend bought him a plane ticket to Hawaii he ventured there only to end up homeless in Maui. He has described how he and his friend slept in a van, smoked weed, drank, and worked as little as possible–namely, just enough to afford living essentials like gas and food. As it turns out, at the age of 19 he was discovered by director Rae Dawn Chong while waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and was cast in the short horror comedy Cursed Part 3 which was never released. But being discovered doesn’t mean things came easy for Chris after that. As the film never went anywhere, Chris kept pushing his dream further any way he could. He took small roles that came his way until he was cast in his breakout role as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation; the character was initially intended to be temporary, but Pratt was so liked by the producers that his part evolved into a series regular. And he experienced rejection when auditioning for leading roles in the sci-fi films Avatar and Star Trek; after his Avatar audition, Chris described the humbling experience by saying, “They said they want somebody that has ‘that thing,’ that ‘it factor.’ I walked into that room knowing that I did not have that thing, and I walked out thinking I would never have that thing, probably.” So a few years later, when he was given the opportunity to audition for the role of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Star-Lord, he hesitated because he didn’t want to experience “another Captain Kirk or Avatar moment.” But when the director James Gunn met Pratt, Gunn quickly became convinced he’d found his leading man.

How far along are you in your professional aspirations? Are you applying “constant pressure for as long as it takes”? Are you undaunted by the inherent rejection of the profession? Have you never stopped believing? Please share!

Passengers is expected to be released in December 2016, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will come out in 2017.

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