Leadership

'Late Night' host Seth Meyers on following your passion without a backup plan: 'Go for it'

Host Seth Meyers at his desk on July 24, 2017.
Getty Image | NBC
Host Seth Meyers at his desk on July 24, 2017.

Some people say the key to success is following your passion and not focusing on money. Others suggest scrapping that advice and looking for a stable 9-to-5 job with health benefits.

Young people just starting out are often left wondering: How do you know when to pursue big dreams and when to take a job in a cubicle? According to Seth Meyers, host of NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers," don't give yourself a backup plan.

"If you're going to go for it, really go for it and put yourself at risk," Meyers says, speaking at an event for The New Yorker Festival on Friday. "[I]f you want to do something like comedy or anything artistic... go for it for a couple years."

Meyers himself followed his passion to success. After studying film and TV at Northwestern University, he spent two years doing improv at a comedy club in Amsterdam.

Later, his performance in a two-person show called "Pick ups and Hiccups" (which he says "wasn't great") caught the eye of a scout for NBC's "Saturday Night Live." He eventually became the head writer and the host of "Weekend Update" on SNL, and now he's the host of his own show.

He says the beginning of your career is the time to take risks, and see which will work out.

"Failure is a lot easier the younger you are," Meyers says at The New Yorker Festival. "It's like gravity, and each year you get older you get farther away from the ground — so the fall is worse."

If you try and fail, "your mind will tell you, at some point, 'Hey I think we need a backup plan,'" he says. But first, give it a real shot. "I think that's really important."

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC and CNBC.

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