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Seth MacFarlane: Even Go-Getters Doubt Themselves

According to Wikipedia, Seth MacFarlane is an “an actor, voice actor, animator, screenwriter, comedian, producer, director, and singer.” You’ve probably seen one of his three shows (“Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show”). Guy’s won two Primetime Emmy Awards, released an album, and is slated to those the 85th Academy Awards. Seems like he’s got his stuff together, huh? No fear, right?

Be like Seth

Well, you might be surprised to hear that Macfarlane’s as fearful of failure as the rest of us. Onstage at a keynote called “Seth Macfarlane: Interview With a Demented Genius” at the annual media leadership conference TheGrill, the multi-talented Macfarlane revealed his innermost fears:

“My thought is always, ‘It’s only downhill from here,’” said MacFarlane. “That’s how I’ve always operated, ever since I began Family Guy. I had the crippling fear that I used up all the funny last week. That crippling insecurity really drives you to do your best. … Your moments of pure joy are few and far between, but they do exist.”

What’s that? This talented (IMO), famous, rich, successful guy doubts himself on a regular basis? That’s right. Macfarlane is just as doubtful and afraid to fail as the rest of us schmoes.

What makes Macfarlane’s comment is that he mentioned having “crippling insecurity.” He might be insecure, but in no way is it crippling. A guy with crippling insecurity doesn’t strike out on his own to start his own series of TV shows. A guy with crippling insecurity doesn’t host an award show watched by millions. A guy with crippling insecurity doesn’t have the balls to show a three-minute clip of Conway Twitty on a popular primetime TV show.

Macfarlane is in no way crippled by insecurity, but how about you? You might have something in common with the star in your self-doubt, but do you fight through it and come out on top as he does? When faced with a big challenge (e.g. interviewing for a job, approaching the girl of your dreams), do you keep pushing or give up? Your ability/inability to cope with fear will make you or break you.

Okay, so you might not have to pump out an episode of poignant yet wacky humor that millions of people will watch next weekend, but you have to confront challenges all your own. If some guy with crippling insecurity like Macfarlane can accomplish all he’s done, is it really that big of a deal to ask your boss for a raise or walk up to that cute girl and ask her for her number, really?

Think what you will of Macfarlane and his brand of comedy (I think it’s genius at some points and meh at others), but you can’t doubt the guys drive. If you just push yourself and brush your insecurities aside, there’s no stopping you from accomplish all of your goals, even if they don’t include creating a show with a talking dog and football-shaped head baby.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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