Despite being a couple years old now, Ashton Kutcher‘s inspiring speech from Nickelodeon’s 2013 Teen Choice Awards is still as relevant today as it was then. The short version: Opportunities look like hard work, being smart is sexy, and build the life you want.
The lesson? Be yourself, be smart, build a life, and seek opportunity how it comes.
What’s up? Oh wow! Okay, okay, let’s be, let’s be brutally honest, this is the old guy award, this is like – this is like the grandpa award, and after this, I get to go to the geriatric home. First of all, I don’t have a career without you guys. I don’t get to do any of the things I get to do without you.
You know, I thought that uh – hi! I thought that it might be interesting in – in Hollywood in the industry the stuff we do, there’s a lot of insider secrets to keeping your career going and a lot of insider secrets to to to making things tick and uh I feel like a fraud.
My name is actually not even Ashton. Ashton is my middle name. My first name’s Chris. And – and – it always has been. It got changed when I was like 19 and I became an actor.
But there are some really amazing things that I learned when I was Chris, and I wanted to share those things with you guys, because I think it’s helped me be here today.
So it’s really 3 things.
The first thing is about opportunity, the second thing is about being sexy and the third thing is about living life.
So first: the opportunity. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work… When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof. And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant. And then I got a job in grocery store deli. And then I got a job in factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job that I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.
Number two: being sexy.
The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap! I promise you! It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart, be thoughtful, and be generous.
The third thing is something that I just re-learned when I was making this movie about Steve Jobs.
And Steve Jobs said: When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get in too much trouble and maybe get an education and get a job and make some money and have a family.
But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can build your own thing, you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life – don’t live one, build one – find your opportunity, and always be sexy. I love you guys.