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From Inmates To Millionaires


By Jason Ray Morton Published 3 years ago 6 min read

Take away all the excuses and remove all the rhetoric from the world and this is one of the most truthful dialogues I've heard in life. As I sit here, trying to develop my Vocal portfolio, looking for something to write about on this Saturday morning, I started thinking about winners. It's probably because I've been guilty of it, making the grand excuses and like some people, I stress and think about throwing in the towel. Unlike a lot of people, I keep getting back up. I keep trying new things and I keep going. That's the key, to keep going. Many find it easier to let themselves get bogged down by history, by fear, by their own perceptions that tell them they can't, they can't, they can't. I'd like to take a look at that for a moment or two.


It's true, if you can take the hit and get back up, keep going forward, that's how winning is done. The Rocky writers using that speech when they did was an inspired piece of work and showed Sly could do a dramatic pitch, something his early works were missing. How does that translate into life or the point I try to make to people when I hear those words "I can't"? I have spent a professional career, up to one year ago, hearing the words I can't on a regular basis from different people. "I can't get ahead, I can't find a job, I can't find my way..." I have literally heard them all. Hell, I've said one of them a time or two myself.

This is still America and when you live in a free country anything remains possible. Sure, the odds are going to be stacked against some people. Let's face it, the old adage that all men are created equally is in fact misleading. That statement should read, we all pop out with the same possibilities, what we do from there is going to define our successes and failures. For those that want to argue my point, I would point out that there have been billionaires who go down the wrong path, fortune five hundred executives in prison and politicians become the object of witch hunts and villainization. We also live in a country where a little girl can brilliantly make a speech at the presidential inauguration while the outgoing president unceremoniously is nowhere to be seen.

Success Stories That Should Not Have Been But Were

There are those people that probably should not have been successes according to the unbelievers in life. Those are the ones that think they can't make it, that they've done too much wrong, that they're too old, etc... Yet, again, this is America and everybody loves a comeback story.

Robert Downey Jr.

Recognize that face. Robert Downey Jr. was a man with an incredibly troubled life. A young actor in the eighties and nineties he started in hits like Less Than Zero and Weird Science. Cocaine, alcohol and the Hollywood lifestyle took a serious toll on him as a young man and he was sentenced to prison in 1999.

By the mid-2000s RDJ was back at work and starting somewhat of a redemption tour in Hollywood as he took on several roles and poured himself into his work. Ever the consummate performer, he took on the titular role of Iron Man and was off and running on the adventure that would lead him to be the biggest hero in the MCU and what would become a $75million dollar payday for his work in Endgame. As the lovable and hatable, annoyingly charismatic Tony Stark, RDJ proved he can take the hit and get back up, becoming the highest-paid actor in Hollywood just twenty years after going to prison.


Santa Claus and Buzz Lightyear Star Tim Allen

In the late nineteen-seventies, Tim Allen was arrested in Kalamazoo Michigan at the airport for possession of cocaine. He later went on to become the star of a different kind of adventure as a prisoner in the Federal Prison system where he was paroled after two years and four months. It's a familiar story, drugs getting someone into trouble and ruining their lives, but this story didn't end with tragedy.

Allen went on to marry, have children and become a household name by the mid-nineties. That wasn't the height of his career, however. Even today, in 2021, Allen is the star of a hit television show and so beloved that when it was canceled, the fan uproar brought the once-popular ABC show back to life on FOX. Allen, throughout his amazing career, pulled his life together and amassed a net worth in the area of $80,000,000.00. That's a lot of zero's folks. Even Disney, known for their morality clauses and children's movies has worked with old Tim.

Many people who face adversity and no doubt continued facing it instead of running from it, found their successes. While Tim Allen's Disney classics and two successful television series aren't guaranteed, anything remains possible in a world like ours.

Ron "R-Truth" Killings

WWE's 24/7 Champion

Wrestling fans worldwide know him as R-Truth. What some may not know is that R-Truth, Ron Killings, is one of those performers that is a personal favorite of "billionaire" wrestling mogul, Vince McMahon. It's simple, according to interviews and insiders, that R-Truth is a workhorse that never complains. His earlier years were, however, not as successful. Truth went to jail multiple times over drug dealing while trying to get his rap career funded. That and what he has been quoted as saying small stuff leaves him with a past like a lot of young men and women in America. It did not, however, make anything impossible for the amazingly talented athlete.

Ron Killings is, while I will never understand why not under WWE, a former World Heavy Weight Champion being the first African American to hold the prestigious NWA World Title. He's entertained all over the globe, literally. Truth made trips to entertain the troops overseas, makes visits to hospitals to entertain sick kids, and delights fans in wrestling venues everywhere.

With the exception of the WWE or Universal championships, Ron Killings has held every title in the WWE and will go down in history as being the most decorated champion of all time, especially thanks to his amazing 49 reigns as the 24/7 champ. Even if he never gets a world title run in WWE, which would be the biggest crime in professional wrestling history, Killings is living proof that anything is possible. Looking at the 49-year-old, compared to when he started, he's also proof that some people don't age. Killings has put together a nice three million dollar net worth and from the looks of it, thanks to his work ethic and relationship with the WWE boss, will be entertaining us for some time to come. So, Vince, where's his WWE title push!

The list of success stories that have been seriously knocked down by circumstance is as long as my leg. I thought about printing it off and putting it against my leg just to prove my point. While we all have our trials and tribulations, we all should remember, that nothing is out of the realm of possibility. With hard work, sacrifice, and determination, we all have a chance.


About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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