|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
As told to Naomi Barr (1 post)
1. You never know when the muse is going to strike.
I've talked to a lot of great artists—Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis—about this, and they all agree it can come from anywhere; you just have to be open to it. It's exciting to get that first germ of an idea. I knew I'd make a movie called Do the Right Thing before I even knew what it would be about. Based on that title, I wrote a script on loose-leaf paper for 12 days straight.
2. Acupuncture works.
I started doing it in March after my trainer recommended it. Now I feel better physically, and I'm less stressed. I even suggested it to Jeremy Lin [the New York Knicks phenom], but he said, "Spike, I hate needles. I can't do it."
3. To master anything, you have to study the masters.
Take Mike Tyson—he's a boxing historian. He's watched thousands of hours of fights, beginning when he was a teenager. It still astounds me that some of my film students at NYU haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia or On the Waterfront. When you learn from seminal artists or athletes, you see that a lot of the stuff you think you've made up has been done by others for years.
4. Doubting yourself invites failure.
Do you think when Derek Jeter strikes out, he says, "I'm terrible; I should retire"? No; he says, "I'm going to knock it out of the park tomorrow." If something throws me for a loop, I shake it off and keep stepping.
5. Every minute I'm above ground, I'm thankful for.
haven't eaten red meat in years because I'd like to be alive as long as I can. I've got a lot to do before I kick it.