As far as I’m concerned, Robert Downey, Jr. is one of the success stories after which every other success story should model itself.

Maybe you’re fairly aware of some of the things Robert Downey, Jr.’s gone through, and maybe you’re not. In addition to his very public battles with drug addiction and all that generally accompanies it (bizarre behavior, crime, rehab facilities’ revolving doors, prison stints, and probation and parole violations), he’s suffered from depression and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by one psychiatrist.

But, you’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of all Robert Downey, Jr.’s personal and professional triumphs over the past few years.

After his last probation and court-ordered substance abuse treatment, Downey, Jr. starred in a handful of well-received films before blowing up the Box Office with Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, and The Soloist. He’s currently working on another Iron Man movie, and in December 2009 we’ll see him as Detective Sherlock Holmes.

During an interview with the National Post‘s Ben Kaplan, Downey, Jr. is pretty clear about where his mind is now:

“All I can say is, Know what? Today, I have a very active, demanding, satisfying, clear-headed, creatively influential life finally without any blind spots’ […] It’s weird and scary and really, really thrilling to be able to just finally focus on the situation at hand.”

And isn’t that the way to deal with it? Be aware of everything we’ve dealt with in the past (how could we not?) but focus on – and appreciate – the present?

Downey, Jr.’s mental health and substance abuse problems clearly affected his personal and professional lives at the time, but once he learned to manage those issues, his strengths and talents were able to shine through and his success exploded. Pretty inspiring, yes?

Image Source: Wikipedia