The Rock: How To Be Authentic In A Noisy World

(3 principles you can steal from Dwayne Johnson)

Alex Karadzin
8 min readApr 19, 2018


Dwayne ‘’The Rock’’ Johnson is the hottest guy in Hollywood right now. In fact, he has been THE guy for a while now.

His latest movie, Rampage, was released on April 13, 2018 and so far it made 151 million dollars worldwide.

There are rumors that Dwayne Johnson is running for the president of the USA.

If you take a look at his life at the moment, this guy seems to have it all.

While there is no doubt that The Rock is an embodiment of success, many seem to attribute his achievements to the fact that he is an impeccable male specimen.

There is one thing we can all agree upon when it comes to The Rock — he is authentic.

Despite the popular belief, authenticity is not a gift that only some of us seem to receive at birth.

If you look at any person who you consider to be authentic, a celebrity or just an ‘’ordinary’’ person, there is a common thread behind — all of them are unique in their own rights and they know how to express it.

Every one of us is unique.

We have a set of traits, skills, and preferences but most of the time we struggle with showcasing it to the world.

In other words, even though we are unique, we don’t know how to be authentic.

The following principles make The Rock stand out from the rest of the crowd.

More importantly, you can ‘’steal’’ these ideas to express your authentic self.

1. Recreate Yourself

“Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself, don’t swim in the same slough. Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and stay out of the clutches of mediocrity. Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself, change your tone and shape so often that they can never categorize you.’’

— Charles Bukowski

Looking at The Rock, there is so much more that meets the eye. To dissect his authenticity that led to his massive success, we need to have a proper context.

To do that, we should go back in time — about 22 years back to be precise.

In 1996, before we knew him as The Rock he is today, Dwayne Johnson was a professional wrestler named Rocky Maivia. That name was a combination of his father’s and grandfather’s ring names.

Rocky Maivia was ‘’a good guy’’, but his character wasn’t well received by the fans. He was booed on every corner and in every arena.

Seeing that the things are not working out for him, he decided to change and recreate himself.

He began referring to himself in the third person as ‘’The Rock’’ and started insulting the audience, as well as the other wrestlers.

Rocky Maivia character was dead and from the ashes arose a new ‘’bad guy’’ who took the wrestling universe by storm.

In all fairness, character reinvention is a common thing in the wrestling business, so what makes him different?

First of all, his reinvention wasn’t the first time he did it.

Before he decided to give wrestling a shot, Dwayne Johnson was a football player with dreams of making it in the NFL.

In his senior year, a back injury sidelined him for the entire year.

After the injury, things were not the same.

He was let go from the Canadian Calgary Stampeders just two months after he joined the team — With his heart broken and his dreams shattered he returned home with 7$ in his pocket.

‘’Playing in the NFL was the best thing that never happened because it got me here. You are going to get your ass kicked; you are gonna get the shit kicked out of you.

You gotta have faith that the one thing you wanted to happen is often the best thing that never happened.‘’

You see, life is going to happen.

The only question is:

Is life going to happen TO you or is it going to happen FOR you?

Being authentic means having the ability to honestly look back, take all the necessary lessons and consciously decide how are you going to apply them further down the road.

2. Open Up and Allow the World to See You

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

― Brené Brown

The Rock is a huge, muscular guy with a perfect smile and the ability to grab attention in an instant.

What makes him stand out, besides all the accolades and his size, is the fact that he comes across as a genuinely sincere person.

While doing the research for my book, I watched many of his interviews and I noticed that one thing about him is constant.

He is not afraid or embarrassed to talk about his failures and struggles. In one of the interviews, he talks about the time he struggled with depression and how he decided to quit football and get into the wrestling business.

The Rock talking about depression

The reason he seems sincere is that he embraced vulnerability.

Opposite to the popular belief, vulnerability is not about being emotional or crying in front of others.

Embracing vulnerability means allowing yourself to open up to others and share your dreams, ideas, struggles, and insecurities despite the risk of being laughed at and rejected.

Being vulnerable means making a stand for what you believe in and not moving an inch, despite the opposing force, political repression or fear that even your loved ones won’t understand you.

Think about the lessons life taught you the hard way.

It can be a bad sad breakup, a failed business or a death of someone close to you.

If you haven’t done that already, try to look at each of those events as a learning experience that shaped you into the person you are today.

Next time you find yourself in a social interaction and you know that someone can benefit from those lessons, open up to them and share your experience.

You will inspire others to do the same.

More importantly, you will inspire them to take action.

That’s all that you can do. Sometimes that’s all you need to do.

3. Self-Amusement Comes First

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

― Elbert Hubbard

The Rock’s CV is quite unique:

1. He was a college football player. 🏈

2. Arguably the most popular wrestler of all time. 💪

3. At the moment, he is the hottest Hollywood guy. 🎦

4. He is also a very successful businessman. 💰

The results speak for themselves.

Dwayne Johnson is one of the hardest working people on the planet.

In 2017, he starred in three blockbuster movies that made over 2 billion $ combined.

One of those movies was the Baywatch.

Rightfully, that movie had won a very special honor at the Razzie Awards, which are given out annually to the year’s worst films.

“It’s Oscar Sunday, I’m super pumped and very proud of my buddies who are nominated. I’m pulling for you guys to bring home the gold.

I’m also excited because I was just informed that I too am bringing home the gold tonight, no not an Oscar, but maybe one day, but a Razzie.

But here’s the cool thing:

The movie was so bad, they actually had to create a new category, I’m not kidding, that category, the new category, is ‘A Movie So Rotten You Eventually Fell in Love With It.

I’m not kidding.

Which means the shit sandwich you have been eaten is so bad that you eventually started to like it.”

Not everything in life is going to pan out just the way you wanted it.

Sometimes, you are going to put in all the work necessary to make something extraordinary and people may still tell you your work is s..t.

You see, The Rock figured out what self-amusement means and how powerful this principle is.

At the end of the day, you need to experience life to the fullest and have fun while doing it.

A ‘’self-amusement comes first’’ mindset is what makes The Rock so authentic and more importantly, what makes him so likable.

The Rock having fun and promoting his movie

Self-amusement doesn’t always mean that you have to be funny or act like a comedian.

Self-amusement can come in many forms, from intellectual and philosophical debates to political conversations to just being silly.

It is a skill, but more importantly, it’s a state of mind, and our minds have no limits.

Use your imagination and be creative. You can come up with weird stories and use role-playing to entertain yourself.

Even if life serves you with the razzie award, you can make the greatest acceptance speech ever and make the most out of the experience.

There are countless ways to have fun at any given second.

If you are having fun and enjoying the moment, everyone else will feel that energy that’s radiating from you. People will perceive you as more attractive because you make them feel good in the process.

The principle of self-amusement is challenging but rewarding.

It’s hard to start practicing, so feel free to take baby steps.

You don’t have to sing karaoke right off the bat. You don’t have to sing at all, but find something that mildly excites you and build on from there.

When it comes to having fun, there shouldn’t be any boundaries and restrictions unless your actions are causing harm in any shape or form to anyone around you.

Don’t take yourself too seriously and the world will be your playground.

Final Thoughts

“Authenticity is more than speaking; Authenticity is also about doing. Every decision we make says something about who we are.”

— Simon Sinek

I feel as if we are living in the age where success is a measure of someone’s worth. On some level, we are all chasing success.

Most of the times, we are not quite sure what exactly success is and how we will know when we achieved it.

The Rock figured it out — money, fame, social status are just some of the things that await those brave enough to live life wholeheartedly.

The main idea we can ‘’steal’’ from The Rock’s life playbook would have to be this:

Being authentic regardless of the consequence or the reward on the other side is a success by default.

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Alex Karadzin

Multimedia Artist. Modern-day Teacher. Lifelong Learner.