In case you missed it, celebrated CNN anchor Anderson Cooper recently made an appearance at Richmond’s Landmark Theater to discuss the experiences his successful career as a journalist has brought him.
His stories of globe-trotting and chameleon-like settlement into the most traitorous situations man has ever ventured are undeniably inspiring, as he is truly a master of his craft. He has become the contemporary archetype for a thrilling and successful career as a messenger of world news.
Being an ambitious young journalist, as well as a fan of Cooper’s career, I latched on to every word and detail he shared at The Richmond Forum. What I found to be the most profound, explicative statement he shared about the pathway to his success was “outwork the rest” and be guided by your bliss. In those simple words Cooper shared the secret.
So often we attribute the success of others, especially those who have reached the pinnacle of their career, to luck rather than the struggles they endured to get there. Sure, Cooper’s privilege of the Vanderbilt name and a degree from Yale didn’t hurt; however, it seems he never intended to capitalize from his inheritance.
Cooper never sought out to become a journalist; his career inevitably found him after he was guided by the advice of “follow your bliss” when his aspiring political career faltered. By doing so, Cooper didn’t skip a beat and began to follow his passion, slowly leading him to a career in broadcast journalism.
His message of perseverance in the face of defeat and determination in the pursuit of triumph is one that knows no bounds. It is also a message we ought to take earnestly, as it is a common message with anyone who has obtained their goals.
In current economic times, when the future seems uncertain, it seems all too cliché to simply follow one’s bliss.
“If no one would give me an opportunity, I had to make one,” said Cooper, who initially forged journalism experience to become noticed.
While we are a generation of variability, we are also a generation of unheard accessibility, an advantageous variable that is unique to our prosperity.
Taking advice from Cooper, we cannot become discouraged as it is those who have outworked the rest who certainly have been rewarded in the form of personal achievement. It is those who follow their bliss that are passionate enough to surpass others and overcome their struggles.
As spring approaches many VCU students are in their final months of their undergraduate degree and likely questioning their next move. Perhaps they ought to take advice from those that have had similar endeavors.
Perhaps it is as unembellished a formula as Cooper described: Work hard for what you want.