Nicholas Darvas, escaping his war-torn homeland, Hungary, sought refuge in Turkey in June 1943. In Istanbul, however, he faced a new crisis. Now, he had no friends, no money, no knowledge of Turkish, and no citizenship. He risked starvation. He also risked losing his sense of being special. He didn’t want to be poor and hungry for the rest of his life. No, he had fonder hopes for himself. He wanted to thrive. He wanted to be an outrageous success.
After the penniless 23-year-old exile fought off immediate peril, he turned his mind back to dreams of glory. He analyzed his situation by listing his talents. He dismissed numerous options. Only one talent really appealed to him. Only one sang to his soul. He loved to dance.
Yes, he finally decided, he would be a dancer.
Dancing fit his personality. In dancing, he had only to display the grace of his body in motion. He did not have to be witty or eloquent. He was basically a shy person.
He would be different, special, unusual. He would dance amazingly well. He would be the best. No, better still, he would be the best of the best. He would dance in the finest theaters in the world. He would dance to packed audiences. He would flit, like a butterfly, across the stages of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. He would be a firefly of the night- life. People would talk about him long after he had left the stage. Newspapers would rave about his performances. Agents would compete for his attention. Yes, people the world over would be willing to pay a high price for the joy of seeing him dance. Just by watching him, people would be enthralled. They would be inspired by his power, speed, grace, agility. He would be famous. No, world-famous. His life, he decided, would be one of splendid, dancing, uplifting motion.
Slowly the images took shape in the theater of his mind. He eagerly outlined how he would achieve his lofty ambition.
He considered a powerful twofold plan.
One, he would learn the latest dance steps. He would practice until he could perform them smoothly, effortlessly, flawlessly.
Two, he would market his talent to the world. Talent alone might land him numerous engagements in Turkey, but it would not open up the rest of the world. He had to let the top people, the wheelers-and-dealers of the entertainment industry, the influential managers, producers, and agents know that he existed. They would learn that he was someone to watch out for, someone who would make them popular and very, very rich.
He rehearsed daily. He practiced, as he had promised himself, the latest dance steps. His clumsy feet moved gracefully after hours; his heavy legs rose off the ground, as if levitating, after months. He read voraciously...devouring the the international dance magazines. He learned avidly...about the styles of the the best dancers. He investigated their favorite locations, where only the elite performed.
Gradually, after years, as he exposed himself to the world of dance, a map emerged in his mind. He saw a royal road. It led to the glittering, night-lit cities, where the top dancers mesmerized audiences. The royal road he envisioned in his mind took him from here to there. Archimedes talked about wanting to move the world with a lever – but he, Nicholas Darvas, would spin it around on the balls of his feet.
On the route to success, Turkey would be the first milestone. He would make himself well-known in his new homeland. Then, he would spread his wings, like a butterfly blossoming in the light. He would dance in the Middle East. He would dance in Europe.
Eventually, he would dance in Paris. From Paris, he would leap across the ocean and dance in New York. New York, he decided, would be his ultimate destination. In New York, he would establish his presence, and from there on he would be invited to dance in all the big cities of the world. He would dance around the world. He was Nicholas Darvas. He was invincible. His fate was inevitable. It had all been decided. It was as good as done.
With his plan in his mind as clear as a vivid dream, he prepared for New York. Now he spent three afternoons a week watching American movies. He wanted to understand the culture. He wanted to capture the American heart.
In these movies, he saw the dance routines that Americans loved. But, he looked deeper, beyond dance, into trends, fashions in drama. He saw a wide variety of movies. He discerned trends. Vague patterns floated in his mind. Ideas came to him and he wrote them down. There was something elusive he was tracking down. It was subtle, a question of nuances. Elusive, half-remembered dreams floated before him when he awoke in the mornings. There were patterns before him, but he could not put them together into one synergistic whole. Then after months of accumulative musing, the ideas began to fall into place. He saw dance trends in non-dance movies. For example, in gangster movies, gun-shot victims reeled a number of times before dying. Americans, he discerned, loved exaggeration, larger-than-life stuff, heroic proportions to their drama.
Since the audience loved drama, he would give it to them in his dance routines. Another trend also emerged. Suspense, intrigue. Movie plots were full of mystery, confusion, surprise. He would create a choreography full of these elements. The audience would find him unpredictable, surprising, sensational.
A time came when he did indeed dominate the dance stage of Turkey. He found occasional work in the Middle East. He now moved to the second part of his plan: marketing.
Since he could not afford to buy the promotion he needed, he created a sort of mail-order business. He gathered the names and addresses of all those responsible for hiring dancers in France, in Europe, and in New York. He assembled a gargantuan list of theatrical agents, managers, and night-club owners. Every week, without failing, he sent them regular mailings -- letters, pictures and newspaper clippings about his latest dance routines. He sent notices of when and where he would be performing next. He sent publicity releases whenever he could, where-ever he could. Slowly, these unknown people started to respond. They wrote back to him, they visited his acts, they invited him to their clubs. His dream was emerging, attaining an energy and mass that even surprised him.
One day, in New York, in his dressing room, he looked at himself in the mirror and smiled. A shiver ran up his spine. He was looking at the highest-paid dancer in the world.
Later on in life, Nicholas Darvas created imaginary blueprints for other fields. He thrived and enjoyed outrageous success in everything that he tried. He went on to become a multimillionaire, a successful theatrical producer, a real estate tycoon, an international businessman, and a Wall Street wizard (who made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market).
The Success Principle
A clear plan, a flexible strategy, and an invincible determination will create your dream, no matter where you start from.