Since he first entered our collective consciousness in 1998 as Michael Kelso on That ‘70s Show, Ashton Kutcher has grown from an obscure, classically handsome Midwestern American teenager to a leading star and a household name.
And these days, he’s everywhere.
When he’s not starring on Two and a Half Men, Kutcher’s dominating a variety of other mediums. Perhaps most notably, last year we saw him take the starring role in Steve Jobs’ appropriately named biopic. Aside from the silver screen, he’s also infiltrated our living rooms in other ways, serving as the spokesman for Nikon, among other brands, like Lenovo.
Sound like a busy guy? It doesn’t stop there.
Kutcher’s also known for his penchant to invest in tech companies. Over the years, he’s financed companies like Airbnb, Bitpay and Balanced. Most recently, he announced a sizeable investment in an interesting tech startup: Rover. Embracing the sharing economy, the company connects animal owners with trustworthy petsitters nearby. So if you’re heading out of town, you can find someone to look after your pets, similar to how you’d use Airbnb to find a place to stay in another city.
How does Kutcher find the time to master all these tasks, juggling them at the same time successfully? He enjoys the pressure of having to deliver.
In fact, he thrives on it.
Obviously, being shouldered with the task of having to portray the man most responsible for iPods, iPhones and iPads isn’t something anyone would take lightly. And Kutcher didn’t.
Faced with the pressure of having to ace the role, Kutcher ruminated on the importance of Jobs in his own life. As a venture capitalist in the tech space, the actor says that none of the innovation happening today would be happening if not for Steve Jobs and his partner in crime, Steve Wozniak.
“They’re very much in our pockets every day and our lives every moment,” Kutcher told Fox News last year while promoting Jobs. “All the relationships I have in my life are made better by the devices he created.”
Then, of course, we’ve got to circle back to Two and a Half Men. It’s safe to assume that everybody knows the Charlie Sheen saga. Winning, tiger blood, etc. Even though the troubled actor was pulling in nearly $2 million an episode, his off-screen antics forced CBS to axe him after he demanded even more despite his shenanigans.
Enter Kutcher, who joined the successful show during its ninth season in 2011, ostensibly replacing Sheen. The actor obviously had big shoes to fill heading into the role. But Kutcher embraced the challenge, delivering a solid performance for four seasons and counting.
It’s worth mentioning that Kutcher’s also proven he isn’t a master of everything.
Case in point? The Joe Paterno-related Twitter snafu, where an uninformed Kutcher stuck up for the beleaguered Penn State football coach in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal.
His tweet offended many. But the star recanted his statement and apologized.
He then proved his wisdom, deciding to outsource the management of his Twitter feed. No more careless mistakes.
(It appears, however, that Kutcher still picks some battles on the social media site. He recently took to Twitter to defend Uber management a few days after one of the ridesharing service’s executives hinted that the company, which had been the subject of bad press, should dig up some dirt on a particular journalist. Kutcher, naturally, is an Uber investor.)
Are you wondering how Kutcher succeeds at all he does?
It’s simple: He invests himself in projects he believes in, projects that pressure him into delivering his best performances. But perhaps most importantly, he realizes that he can’t do everything on his own. So he doesn’t, hence the passing off of the management of his Twitter account.
In other words, you’re more productive when you invest your energies in that which you’re passionate about, the projects that pressure you to succeed. They’re the projects you have the most fun with, the projects you love.
It’s time to focus on what you do best. Get rid of the rest.