How Persistence Helped a Carpenter Become Indiana Jones

We all have goals, dreams and aspirations. Some achieve these early on in their career while it takes other’s long toilsome years. Henry Hartman (a very successful illustrator and artist) says: “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” If opportunity finds you unprepared it will pass you by. Adhesion to your goals and setting up the ground-work, even in the moments that feel most displaced from achieving these, will ensure you won’t be passed by. These are the lessons taught by a carpenter from Chicago that become Indiana Jones.


The world that surrounds us constantly changes. Even the ground we stand on moves and is formed by other forces (that we don’t even see). Harrison Ford went to Hollywood for an acting career, the initial reaction of studio execs being less the favorable. Actually it was outright dejection of Fords ability to ‘make it in the business’. He initially took smaller and secondary roles, but finally had to start working as a carpenter to make a living.

When trying to achieve your goals, obstacles must be taken in your stride and you must be adaptable in case initially your goal isn’t reached. Ford due to frustration could have completely abandoned his efforts at this point.


Inertia is defined as the opposition of any object to any change in its state of movement, including changes to its speed and direction. Basically something moving wants to keep moving. During the period that Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter he continued to accepting acting roles. He also worked as a stagehand for the legendary band The Doors. Ironically it was his carpentry that would open the door to him to one of Hollywood’s power-players (I see the joke lying in wait there but I’m going to be better than that. It’s the Doors, door and carpentry don’t be lazy make your own joke). Harrison Ford was to install cabinetry at George Lucas home during the initial stages of “American Graffiti” and was invited to read for a role. After auditioning he was awarded the role but there was still a way to go before he became the house hold name he is today.

Keeping inertia going is crucial to goal achievement. This is especially true when things start to seem better or you receive more positive results due to your efforts and it’s easy to become complacent. Ford not only starred in American Graffiti but he continued to audition for other roles and continue to build cabinets. It is even said that he would show up to auditions in his carpentry gear directly from the job, just to let the casting director know that he wasn’t desperate.

Doing something else doesn’t mean giving up

As I mentioned above, Ford got his first role through his carpentering. It actually helped him get other roles as well. While expanding Francis Ford Coppola’s office (Yep, the director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now) he got two more minor roles.

Every exciting story has a side-story too. How interesting would this article have been if Ford’s story started with “Ford went to Hollywood, got hired as Hans Solo then Indiana Jones the end”. Don’t become dejected or disappointed when you have to do something else until the time that your experience and personal growth bring you to your goals.

Have you achieved a personal goal through persistence, self-motivation and self-reliance? Please share your experience with everyone in the comment section below.




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