Remaining true to himself, his family, and his fans, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has battled depression and other personal matters while changing and maintaining impressive and professional sports and Hollywood careers after college.
Johnson believes that when life gets you down, you should “have faith that on the other side of your pain is something good.”
At least twice, he’s applied this conviction to his decisions when he changed careers. On realizing he has faith and he is not the only one who suffers depression, Johnson picked himself up during his 20s when he struggled with playing professional football.
The Huffington Post reports one of Johnson’s interviews that took place Sunday, Nov. 15 on Oprah’s Master Class on the Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN, where he reflected on his life as a child, a professional football player, pro wrestler, blockbuster movie actor, a son, a lover, and a father. He talked about how his experience with depression was a career-changing event, and how he managed to keep moving on.
When Johnson was overlooked by the NFL and after a two-months stint, and was let go from the Calgary Stampeders, a team in the Canadian League, it was then that he decided to give his next career move — pro wrestling — a shot.
Having a father, Rocky Johnson, who was a pro wrestler, Johnson asked his father to train him to follow in his footsteps. Even though Johnson’s father doubted his son’s next career move, he honored his wishes.
Johnson entered the ring in 1996 as Rocky Maivia and is known today as one of the best pro wrestlers in the history of the WWE sport.
However, he had a rocky start. About 20,000 wrestling fans booed him during his first Wrestle Mania, with chants such as, “’Rocky sucks.’” Johnson rebounded from this travesty nicely when he returned to the ring after an injury. He took the mic and responded to the fans telling them, Rocky doesn’t suck.
With lessons learned, a few weeks later, Johnson changed his wrestling persona, calling himself, “The Rock.” He is known by this name as a pro wrestler today. He realized that being true to oneself is hot.
“About a month later, I was the hottest heel in the company and things were on fire.” He learned that “the most powerful thing you can be is yourself.”
At the height of his wrestling career, Johnson made another decision to delve deeper into a career that he had dabbled with – acting. However, wrestling was all he knew and acting would be a challenge requiring an exercise of faith. It has been another success.
Johnson said, ”I wanted to grow as an entertainer. I wanted to reach as many people as possible, not for the box office value of it, but for the connection.”
Growing up an only child, Johnson was born to parents whose marriage was on the rocks by the time he was a teen. He learned about life and relationships at an early age. Actually, it was during his teenage years that Johnson came to a realization about the sacredness of life. This happened when he impulsively saved his mother’s life.
Today, Johnson values being a father and is committed to loving his 13-year-old daughter and his girlfriend. He recalls making a vow to take care of his daughter and cherishes their special bond.
Johnson infers that even with his successes changing careers and dealing with depression, being a father has been his greatest job.