You’ve probably seen Donald Glover’s work at some point in your life. He’s a founder of the Derrick Comedy sketch group. While still at university, he wrote for The Daily Show and 30 Rock. In 2009, he left 30 Rock for a starring role as Troy in Community, which he left this year to write, produce and star in his own show on FX. All the while rapping as Childish Gambino, under which he’s released nine projects. Before this, Glover was a shy, scared child. His parents housed many foster kids, making him jealous of the attention they “stole” from him. He was bullied throughout school for his acne, hair and nose. He raps about wetting himself during this period. He was a virgin until second-year university. The way he got over this: by focusing on a better future for himself, whatever it took, which meant getting over his fears and insecurities. In an interview for Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 list, he explains:
“Once I figure out what I wanted to do, I’m like: ‘Let me put myself in a position where you just couldn’t say no to me’. Every time my name came up I wanted people to be able to go on to YouTube or wherever and know who I was.”
The reason Glover became a talented writer was because he wrote scripts constantly, many that went no farther than his hard drive. He became a good actor by filming Derrick Comedy’s sketches and posting them online, some with only a handful of views at the beginning. He became a good rapper by recording himself since college before releasing a studio album at 28 years old. The reason Glover has become successful is because he’s not afraid to try things he has no experience with, then practice until he’s good at them. Like you, Glover still has fears. Last year he shared a bunch of sad personal notes on what he’s scared of today. These notes portray someone at their most vulnerable, which is said not to be the best move in both celebrity and hip-hop culture; however, he’s still working to get over them the same way he always had.
“I hope I never ‘make it’, I hope I’ve never ‘made it’. I wake up every morning like, ‘I gotta be better.’ “
Donald Glover is a walking representation of getting over the fear that you’re not good enough. You may not know how to start your next project or are afraid of looking stupid, but as Glover proves, the best way to get over that is to dive in head-first.
Read his emotional chat with Noisey here.
Image Credit: Eli Watson under an Attribution 2.0 License. Cropped for size.