How Much Do You Believe Your Dream Will Cost?

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Written by Jimmy Tong

Is there a price to your dream? How much will you sell your dream for? Are you willing to give up big money to live your dream?

When Sylvester Stallone was just starting out in life, it was a miserable life for him. Before his big breakthrough with ROCKY, he was a nobody. He lived life on the go, earning bare minimum from film roles no one wanted to take.

In his early acting career, he took part in some soft porn films. For him, it was a matter of survival. Once he recounted how he had to live at a New York City Port Authority bus station for three weeks while waiting for an assignment that eventually paid him $200.

Although he was a nobody to people, he was someone big to himself. All he ever wanted to do in his life was to become a writer/actor. He held on to this when the environment he was in and people around him beat him to the ground. He knew how to get up and continue living his dream. Hasn’t that become the trademark of all his ROCKY films?

His big break came after watching a boxing match involving the great Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner in March of 1975. Like Stallone, Wepner was a nobody against the greatest heavyweight champion of the world. Yet, he never knew how to quit. After that, Stallone was so inspired that he when home and wrote the original script of ROCKY in 20 straight hours.

Stallone did not just write the script, but he also knew that this was his own dream. He must be ROCKY no matter what.

When a film producer eventually decided to take his script and start the movie production, the company was willing to pay Stallone big bucks for it. There was only one problem – Stallone wanted to be ROCKY.

But the producers could never put an ugly guy that could not speak properly as the main character. So they began raising the offer to prevent Stallone from starring in his own movie. That price eventually came to $325,000.

That was a fortune in the 1970s. Still, Stallone turned it down. He was ready to walk out of the deal because he believed in his dream so strongly.

Finally, the producers relented and allowed Stallone to be ROCKY in their new movie, but they also reduced the amount paid to Stallone to $35,000. Stallone was ready to hold onto his dream no matter what.

Listen to Anthony Robbins recount this true story of Sly Stallone.

Until you are willing to let go of everything, you will never truly succeed and fly in life. In any fight, it is the man who is willing to risk everything that will find success.

ROCKY eventually won Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing at the Academy Awards. Since then, there were another five ROCKY films, each inspiring millions more to look at their lives and live their dreams no matter what.

What would have happened if Stallone sold his script for $325,000?

ROCKY is always about getting knocked down but never knocked out. It epitomized the true human spirit of going the distance no matter what. How have you been knocked down lately? How are you reacting to those knockdowns? Is life too hard sometimes?

Life is hard because it calls on us to do the impossible. Life believes in us! Do we believe in ourselves? I end with this famous quote from ROCKY BALBOA, the last of the ROCKY films:

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”


Some Amazing Comments


About the author

Jimmy Tong

Jimmy is a veteran teacher, coach and education officer in Singapore. He has combined his skills in the education and cosmically charged speaking style with his passion for personal development to become a life coach, speaker, trainer and writer. He writes extensively about personal development at Life Architects. His coaching and personal development training is anchored by his Ace Your PERSONAL Goals framework which sets the foundation for effective and easy to implement personal development skills.


  • Thanx a ton for the post.

    I got a SMS on my mobile:

    There was a Hotel owner who has a very big and famous hotel. One night it was set on fire. All was burnt completely.
    The next day The Hotel owner marked a board at the place where his hotel used to stand saying:

  • Thanks for writing this post Jimmy!

    Both Sly and you are very inspiring. There is nothing so powerful as struggling in life, but with an inner ‘eye of the tiger’ flame so strong, that the only outcome will be that you will succeed. If we want it bad enough, we will get it! The more obstacles the better, because the more we can knock down.

  • I recently face a lot of obstacles on my route to achieve my dream. It’s very frustrating and saddening, kind of like “end of the world”, ha. And your article with Rocky story just came in time, Jimmy, it’s like a pat on the shoulder encouraging me to move on. As you said “knocked down but never knocked out”. Thanks for sharing Jimmy~

  • I think it is a good practice to frequently allow ourselves to sit back and reflect where we are in life and identify whether decisions and actions being based on insecurities.

    Insecurities are supported by limited thinking patterns and I believe that once we detach and accept the possibility of loss, and allow our minds to be in a creative flexible flow to pursue our dream goals, fear and anxiety will no longer have it’s grasp.

    So I believe the more action we take to living our purpose and the more possibilities we allow in our lives, fear and insecurity will naturally lose its dis-empowering control which I think the film Rocky demonstrates.

    Rocky knows what he wants, he lives his dream everyday regardless of the situation and he becomes the person he wants to be through persistence.

    Great post Jimmy, excellent work :)

  • ah yess, sometimes in the process of pursuing our dreams, we want to give up because of the seeming failutres. my dream is to write a book. many people tell me it’s difficult, publishing is hard to navigate. but like stallone, i just have to hold on to the dream!
    Noch Noch

  • Great post, Jimmy!

    The Rocky saga is such an inspiring one! Thank you for sharing it! I think the reason it struck such a nerve with audiences is the punch-through-your-obstacles philosophy and keep-working-at-it and fight-for what-you-want-and-never-give-up attitude.

    Thanks again for sharing this, Jimmy! Very inspiring!

  • Sometimes it’s hard to hold on even when the odds are against us. I’ve had this problem a few times and I just had to find some form of inspiration to hold on to that dream.

    This made me realize that it’s important for our source of inspiration to be internal and not external. Internal sources last while the external ones are temporary. Thanks for this post Jimmy. As for my dream, it’s priceless and just like Stallone, I can’t sell it.

  • What an awesome post! In order to pursue my dream of financial independence, I gave up the security of a somewhat hefty steady paycheck. I knew that I chose my initial career for the money and everything about it left me feeling miserable. I wanted to be a life coach more than anything…and I went for it.

    It was a tough decision and nothing about the journey that followed was easy. However, it was worth it. In fact, I couldn’t authentically coach clients through transitional phases in life if I was too “chicken shit” to push myself.

  • Hi Clint,

    Yours is a great story. Whatever we do, do not let others buy or steal our dreams. The rewards at the end of the journey is more valuable than anything others are willing to pay for.

  • I had a situation when I was younger. I had already been in martial arts for many years but never competed. When my father asked me why I wanted to enter competitions all of a sudden, I told him that I wanted to be a champion at something I was good at and maybe win a few trophies. He then said that I should forget about competition and that he will buy me a trophy instead.

    Of course, I balked at this idea and spent endless hours training for competition. After a long successful martial arts competition career, I can certainly look back and not regret my original decision to refuse a store bought trophy that I didn’t earn.

    Years later, I heard a quote that went something like, ‘My dreams are not for sale’. This is so true as I can relate to this so much. Now that my martial arts competition career is over, my other dreams are also not for sale as I continue to pursue them.

    • Bryce,

      I missed seeing your gravatar. It is always so uplifting to see you guys smile. Thanks for the compliment. Steven has really been good to me.

  • “Until you are willing to let go of everything” is the crux of this whole post. All the “commitment” in the world usually amounts to nothing within us until it’s put to the test.

    Yes, Sly was willing to let go of everything, and then, once he proved willing… he no longer HAD TO.

    From there, he GOT everything! What an amazing stance for one’s truth and a great lesson for us all.

  • Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for sharing. Sly’s story is just more proof that you achieve anything you want to if you put your mind to it. Always great to hear stories like this.

  • Absolutely ballin’ post, Jimmy.

    I love media, love Rocky and his story, and I’ve lived a very similar one. I was homeless (twice) and lived in a park for a couple weeks until my next client. I was arrested. I was ignored by my family, I was betrayed by my girlfriend, but I always held onto my dream.

    I love the Tony Robbins + Ali references too, both of these guys are amazing personalities.

    My friend Eric Horner made an incredibly inspiration video leveraging that Rocky speech, Ali, and more in this video:

    Thanks again for such a wonderful post – Ryze up!

    • Hi Jason,

      That is a very powerful clip that I have seen as well. I love how quotes and music is combined to great effect.

      Whatever you are facing now my friend will pass. I can sense your strength of purpose in what you are living now. There will be great rewards in time for you.

  • Rather than having huge goals, I like to envision how I want my days to look. Years ago, as part of a workshop on how to find a job, there was an exercise to write about what I wanted my future to look like – where I lived, what I did, etc. I completed the exercise and forgot about it thinking that what I wrote was too far-fetched to be real. A couple years ago I found that notebook and read what I wrote. I got chills. Where I live now and what I do now and how I do it are almost identical to what I wrote many years before. It had all come true.

    I now have new dreams that I keep in the back of my mind. While they seem far-fetched now, I’ve had enough “coincidences” happen that support the dream really happening that I have faith that it will happen. I take daily actions that support my happiness knowing that everything happens for a reason. I’ve made the biggest leaps in my personal development after some of the toughest times in my life. Being open to the necessary changes is critical to making real progress.

    • Hi Paige,

      Your story is so inspiring. The universe truly delivers on its promises to us. We might forget what we dream about but not the Almighty one. All it calls on us is to dream big, have faith, and take the actions at the moment. The rest we need not worry, it will be revealed in time.

  • Hey Jimmy & Steve,
    Tony Robbins on one of his audio programs tells a great story of how Sly Stallone went through hell to get Rocky onto the big screen.

    • Justin My Friend,

      That video clip by Robbins on Stallone is really a powerful one. I actually have that here for everyone to see.

      With your new hair cut, I can feel greater energy from you.

  • Yes, life is sometimes hard and I need to keep going, no matte what. I feel the journey of life seems long and hard when you look at how many things needs to be done in the coming 1 year or even 1 month. I get energy and inspiration to complete my work by facing things one-by-one. That way when one task is done, I feel that I can complete 100 new tasks too. Of course by working on one task at a time. And yes, there’s no question of selling my dream for anything.

    Great post!
    Thank you both Steven and Jimmy.

    • Hi Avd,

      Remember that Rome was not build in a day. Getting what we want in life is about taking small steps every single day. Always ask yourself what can you do in a small way that will move you a bit closer to your goals. When things are broken down into small bits, it becomes manageable.

  • Hi,I have recently left my job as a science teacher to pursue my dream. I was earning ~£50,000 per annum and have sacrificed a regular salary in order to realise my dream.

    It was a big decision to make considering I didn’t have a job to go to. However, I took the plunge and have now set up my own business and know that the dream is already a reality!


    • Jason my fellow teacher,

      I am on the same path as you too. I will be quitting my teaching job to pursue what I truly like soon. It is so exciting, taking the plunge. As long as we are willing to pay the price, I think everything will be alright.

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