Jim Carrey’s Speech: ‘You Can Fail at What You Don’t Want, So You Might as Well Take a Chance on Doing What You Love’

June 12, 2015

If you are an actor whose parents much prefer you find a “real” job instead of pursuing acting; or if you find yourself second guessing the decision to follow your passion, wondering if it’s wiser to find a more conservative profession, then you might be interested in hearing Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 Maharishi University of Management. This video clip highlights portions of Carrey’s speech, where he warns the consciousness-seeking graduates that, “Your need for acceptance can make you invisible.” He therefore encourages them to “Risk being seen in all of your glory.”

Speaking from his personal life experiences, he says, “So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying that I am the proof that you can ask the universe for it. Please. And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order.”

He briefly tells a story about his father who had natural comedic talent, but who didn’t believe that being a comedian was a career option. Having four children, he thus chose the more conservative career path as an accountant. But a 12-year-old Jim learned an important lesson when his father lost that “safe” job, and consequently everything seemed to fall apart for the family. They, in fact, lived out of a van for some time, and the family members pulled together as they persevered through the tough circumstances. By the time Jim was 15, he started working as a janitor to help the family survive, and he never completed high school. “I learned many great lessons from my father–not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

For Jim, that meant following his dreams of being a comedian despite his family’s lack of financial stability. His dad, adept with his own sense of humor, helped Jim create a stage act which gradually lead to Rodney Dangerfield taking notice of the budding star, and asking Jim to open his tour performances.

“As far as I can tell it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass,” Jim tells the graduates. “You are ready and able to do beautiful things in this world. And after you walk through those doors today, you will only ever have two choices: Love or fear. Choose love, and don’t ever let fear turn you against your playful heart.”

To hear Carrey’s full, entertaining 26-minute speech, click here.