Sylvester Enzio Stallone (1946-) celebrates a birthday today. Born in the dangerous streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen, Sly studied drama at the University of Miami and was discouraged from pursuing acting by his teachers.
"I grew up with a pretty profound complex of inadequacy. And I thought the only way to override that was through creating an imposing exterior."
So he pumped his body up into Rocky Balboa and John Rambo, creating larger-than-life superheroes, becoming an international superstar. Stallone's characters celebrated the underdog, overcoming great odds and soaring in the face of adversity.
In 1976, Stallone wrote the Rocky script in longhand and refused to let any one else play the role of the prize fighter. In Rocky's words, "believe in yourself, and you can do anything."
But beneath Stallone's noticeable speech impediment and even more noticeable brawn, beats the heart of an articulate, sensitive artist. He began painting while at college, earning enough money to make it to Hollywood.
Stallone, the artist, paints by squeezing colors directly onto the canvas. He uses bold strokes, vigorous splashes of heart and energy. His works always include the image of a clock or watch, because "time well spent is hard to accomplish, while time lost is a tragedy."
Lead with your heart.