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I’ve never gotten goose bumps thinking about celebrities. They are just regular people to me, some more regular than others. But one celebrity has my full attention.
Ashton Kutcher recently took home the “Ultimate Choice Award” at Fox’s Teen Choice Awards. I wasn’t watching the show, but I caught a recap of Kutcher’s speech, and I was shocked by his genuine and candid comments.
Unlike most actors, Kutcher didn’t spend 10 minutes listing every person he has ever worked with. Instead, he used his short time to make an exceptional appeal to young people.
Parents, this is your cue to continue reading this column and to make a note on your overbooked calendar to show your kids Kutcher’s speech. (You can view his entire speech at http://goo.gl/VmUvGI.) Actually, there are a lot of adults who need to hear this lesson, too; I was one of them.
With young girls screaming his name, Kutcher began his authentic message.
“My real name isn’t even Ashton. Ashton is my middle name,” he said. “My first name is Chris. It always has been. It got changed when I was like 19, and I became an actor. But there are some really amazing things I learned when I was Chris. And I wanted to share those things with you guys because I think it helped me be here today.”
Kutcher first spoke about opportunity. Too often, the word opportunity is misinterpreted. People often use opportunity and luck synonymously. Kutcher, however, powerfully demonstrated how opportunity, not luck, propelled him to success.
“I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job, and I never quit my job before I had my next job,” he said.
Kutcher talked briefly about life before his acting career erupted. His early jobs included carrying shingles up a ladder with his “old man” when he was 13, washing dishes at a restaurant, working at a grocery store deli and sweeping Cheerios dust off the floor of a factory.
“Opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” he said.
He also talked about being sexy. I almost stopped the video when I heard the word “sexy” and saw the teen girls jumping up and down. I’m extremely happy I endured the screams, because Kutcher’s definition of sexy was not at all what I was expecting.
“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart. And being thoughtful and being generous,” he said. “Everything else is (nonsense). I promise you. It’s just (nonsense) that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less. So don’t buy it. Be smart. Be thoughtful and be generous.”
I was watching this video at home alone, and I think I actually said “Wow” out loud.
Kutcher’s final lesson was something he said he just “relearned” while making a movie about Steve Jobs.
“Steve Jobs said when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that you are supposed to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. Maybe get an education, get a job, make some money and have a family,” he said. “But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing: Everything around us that we call life was made by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own things and you can build your own life that other people can live in.”
Kutcher’s final remarks are much better than anything I could write, so I will let his words speak for themselves.
“Build a life, don’t live one. Find your opportunities and always be sexy.”
Paige Harden is a proud lifelong resident of Columbus. A former newspaper reporter, Harden is now the public relations specialist for Columbus Regional Health. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
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