I’d have to say that the single biggest problem that leads to so much collective unhappiness and dissatisfaction with our lives is not quite what we think it is.

Some associate a lack of fulfillment with their unhappy jobs, relationships, lack of money or whatever they compare themselves to on social media.

There is a single factor that appears to elude people in their quest to zero in on what it is that’s keeping them from feeling satisfied and accomplished.

And that factor would quite simply be, control.

For this episode I’m going to focus on Clint Eastwood as an example of a man who, as James Altucher would say, chose himself first.

Not only that, but Clint put himself into a position of control.

While the majority of actors flock to Hollywood with the dream of becoming rich and famous, Clint set out to become famous, but also secure, wealthy and powerful.

Hollywood is a very perilous place.

The mere mention of the word conjures images of glamor, fortune and fame.

Far more often than not, common people fail to perceive how many failed and ruined careers paved the way for the uber successful few.

Like many others before them, most actors take the route of hired guns.

They hunt for gigs, get those gigs, then cross their fingers while waiting for the next opportunity to make money to come along.

That’s not the way Clint Eastwood played the game. In fact, his goal was to own the game.

From the start of his career in acting, Clint knew exactly what he wanted and what bullshit he wasn’t ready to put up with (which is a lot, by the way).

So he created his own production company, Malpaso Films, and in doing so, he set his career on a far more lucrative and rewarding path than if he had chosen to simply go from gig to gig like the majority of actors.

He was completely open about the fact that Malpaso’s existence operated largely in the service of Clint’s own acting career.

His exact words on why he launched Malpaso:
“My theory was that I could foul up my career just as well as somebody else could foul it up for me, so why not try it? And I had this urge to show the industry that it needs to be more streamlined so it can make more films with smaller crews.”

It was important to Clint that he be able to stick to his preferred acting style, which is low on dialogue and heavy on physicality to convey a story.

He also wanted to pull away from the Hollywood belief that a romance had to be a part of every movie.

Then there was his pragmatic approach to movie making. Typical Hollywood budgets disgusted him. He was completely turned off by the bloated amounts of money spent and ridiculously long production timelines.

Knowing that his new company was facing hurdles in the beginning, despite his star power, Clint did something all of the smartest businessmen do.

He hired the smartest people in the room to handle everything he didn’t understand or want to do.

By the time Clint was ready to shoot Malpaso’s first film, Hang ‘Em High, his production company had only four full time staff, including himself.

In the end Clint’s bet paid off right away.

Malpaso’s first production – Hang Em High grossed $7 million.

Not only did these profits beat his previous blockbuster, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – but they quickly paid back the movie’s modest budget within days of its release.

Throughout its history, Clint has screwed up on more than one occasion with his choices of movies to produce.

But even with those failures, he had come to learn that being in control is still best.

No one could fire him over his mistakes.

Today, Malpaso is slowing down. Given that the company was established to benefit Eastwood above all else, now that Eastwood is in his 90s has produced only one movie so far this decade, which is a far cry from the amount of movies it put out in the 70s and 80s.

The takeaway here is that controlling the situation is a harder path to take, but provided you do it right, it will give you what so few have: satisfaction and truly getting paid what you’re worth.

You will struggle, you will inevitably doubt yourself from time to time, but the payoff will be worth it.

Before signing off, I wanted to leave you with one more quote from Clint Eastwood with regards to launching his own production company:

“I’ve been advised against nearly everything I’ve ever done.”