Case History: Creating Your Dream

Steve Spielberg started making films when he was a boy in a middle-class suburban household, using the family’s home-movie camera. AT 17, he had a one-night showing for this first feature-length film, a science-fiction thriller called Firelight, netting $600. The next day his family moved to California, where his mediocre school record got him rejected by the University of Southern California, not once but three times! He attended California State University-Long Beach, but dropped out to pursue his career. In 2002, he finally earned his bachelor’s degree but by then he had already won four Oscars, including the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and he was sitting on USC’s Board of Trustees.

Great success like Spielberg’s often flows from a purposeful life. Yes, he’s acquired fame and fortune but it’s clear that filmmaking was his passion – and his spiritual purpose – from a very young age, long before he made money doing it. In fact, he got his start as an unpaid, seven-days-a-week intern at Universal Studies, where he made his first short film for theatrical release, Amblin, a name that he later gave to his production company. And along with his success, he has engaged in a wide variety of philanthropic efforts.

All of us have genius within us. For Steven Spielberg, it was in film. What area is your genius in?

This case history is excerpted from my book, You Are More Than That (Chapter Eight, Living With Purpose).