'Mad Men' creator Matthew Weiner reveals his biggest career regret

Matthew Weiner Jon HammAMC NetworksMatt Weiner (R) on set with Jon Hamm.

Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner has won nine Emmy awards.

Time magazine has named him as one of the 100 most influential people, saying he is “no less than a genius” and that “his influence on the world of television is unparalleled.”

But success didn’t come easily to Weiner.

Now 49, he didn’t have a paid job in show business until age 30.

As he revealed in an excerpt from “Getting There” via Fast Company, his years after film school were a “dark time,” where he felt jealous of people who succeeded and started to feel like “the most useless, worthless person in the world.”

“Show business looked so impenetrable that I eventually stopped writing,” he said.

Eventually, Weiner would break in, thanks to a friend asking him to help “punch up” a comedy script, which lead to more writing jobs and eventually “the Sopranos,” often thought of as the greatest television series of all time. That would lead to his selling “Mad Men” to AMC. The rest is television history.

But when Weiner was in his 20s, he was creatively — and jealously — immobilized.

He explained:

The greatest regret I have is that, early in my career, I showed myself such cruelty for not having accomplished anything significant.

I spent so much time trying to write, but was paralysed by how behind I felt. Many years later I realised that if I had written only a couple of pages a day, I would have written 500 pages at the end of a year (and that’s not even working weekends). Any contribution you make on a daily basis is fantastic.

I still happen to write almost everything at once, but I now cut myself slack on all of the thinking and procrastination time I use. I know that it’s all part of my creative process.

Psychology research shows that Weiner isn’t alone in how debilitating social comparisons can be. Multiple studies have shown that the more a person compares themselves to others, the worse their self-regard is.

Read Weiners’ full excerpt here.

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