George Clooney Gave 14 of His Oldest Friends $1 Million. Would You Have Accepted the Money?
Does easily accepting such a gift say something negative about your character? Would it matter?
I would have accepted the money. Let’s get that out of the way first. I am not going to position myself here as holier than thou.
Confirmation of the long-standing rumor hit this morning: Actor George Clooney gifted 14 surprised friends with $1 million for helping him during his starving actor days.
In a new interview with GQ, Clooney said, “I thought, what I do have are these guys who’ve all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another. I’ve slept on their couches when I was broke ... They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years. And I’ve helped them over the years. We’re all good friends. And I thought, you know, without them I don’t have any of this.”
I have spoken about the concept of karma in other articles, which I am not vested in as dogma but of which I have seen validation also in my life and the lives of others.
There is nothing at all mystical about it.
Here’s an example. As a writer, my natural inclination is to help as many of my peers as possible. I write articles to help other writers with their craft and business, I speak as much as possible at writing and film conferences, and I hold classes for the same purpose. Sometimes I charge, sometimes I do not. For me, it’s about helping. My philosophy, which is similar to the karmic outlook, is this:
Help when you can and you will receive in return.
It works. Though my writing career is active, I still always need to meet those in a position to purchase my work. This is a lifelong effort. Resting on laurels due to past success is meaningless. Do some favors today — because you want to, not because you are being selfish by expecting a reward later — and you leave your future open to fortune.
After all, wouldn’t you want to work with someone or treat someone well who has done the same for you?
Clooney came up tough in the actor’s world, as you see above. He slept on the couches of others. He didn’t eat well.
He sacrificed his health, doing what he had to do for his career.
Can anyone reading these words identify?
In his case, Clooney’s hard work and sacrifice paid off. He explains that he earned more money from “Gravity” than he had anticipated, and he figured he’d share the wealth with those who supported him early “just because.”
He seems to be a loyal guy, who apparently has never forgotten where he came from.
If the same thing happened to you as has happened to FOC’s (Friends of Clooney’s), would you take the money?
I would, as mentioned. I would likely donate a portion to charity; I know I’d use at least half for my family.
Or, would you feel guilty receiving such a gift and turn it down?
Ask yourself “why?” in both instances.
When you do, consider one more thing: Consider George Clooney’s story as a lesson to do more for others. You are not only helping them, which may be most important, but in a sense you may also be investing in your own future.
You never know.
And, if the chips fall to where you gave a hand to other people who need it, and you receive nothing material in return … really, is that a bad thing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thank you for reading.
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Writing For Your Life
Honest, practical advice on the writer's life for both aspiring and experienced authors and screenwriters.
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