Why Sylvester Stallone Really Sold His Dog
Sylvester Stallone’s life genuinely is a rags to riches story. A penniless actor with limited prospects, Stallone’s big break began in 1975 when he was inspired to write the screenplay for rocky. But the story it told was never primarily about a boxer. It was about a man’s ability to overcome the odds and to realise a dream that most people had tried to convince him was beyond his reach.
In many ways, the story of Rocky was a biopic of the actor’s early life.
So where did Stallone’s dog fit into all this? Well, you’ve probably heard a version of the story before, but it goes pretty much like this.
In 1975, Sylvester Stallone was living in New York and pursuing his acting career. He was struggling to gain any momentum, receiving rejection after rejection at auditions he attended. He began to write screenplays, but similarly these also met with little interest.
The actor had run out of money and was barely able to feed himself and his family.
In March 1975, Stallone watched the world heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner in which a courageous but outclassed Wepner managed to make it through to the very last round before finally being knocked out by the great champion. It was this fight that inspired Stallone to write his screenplay.
But his struggle wasn’t over yet. His latest script continued to be rejected by movie producers and, with no money in his pocket, he finally had no choice but to sell his beloved dog Butkus for just $50.
Some months later, Stallone was finally offered $25,000 for the Rocky screenplay, along with the starring role. The first thing he did was to try to find his dog. He spent three days searching for the man he sold Butkus to and when he found him, he offered him $150 to buy the dog back. The man refused and it eventually cost Stallone $3,000 and the guarantee of a walk-on part in the movie before the animal was handed back.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Butkus also appeared in Rocky (as himself) and the movie went on to become one of the most well known and iconic of all time.
Sylvester Stallone’s epic rise to movie fame and fortune is an impressive story, but the moral here is far more fundamental. Stallone didn’t sell his dog for a quick return of $50, he sold his dog for two important reasons:
- He was focused on the long game.
- He recognised that changing his future necessitated some sort of sacrifice.
Success always comes at a price. You may not like it, but that’s just the way it is. To achieve your goals, for your outcomes to change, for your life to begin looking different from the way it looks today, you have to decide what you are prepared to give in return. It may be money, it may be time, it may be effort…but there is always a price.
Those that succeed in life are always the ones that recognise this, that know the price and are prepared to pay it.
Dedicated to your success,
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