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Justin Timberlake is on top of the world most of the time -- and a new interview reveals how he's managed to stay there. The singer and actor took a hit to both careers recently, when his film Runner, Runner and his album The 20/20 Experience Part 2 were panned by critics. Variety literally ran a piece called "Why Justin Timberlake Should Stop Acting," and Billboard said that his new album should never have been released. Timberlake told GQ that he's angry about both reviews -- and also completely undiscouraged.
"The movie didn't do well at the box office, so I should quit? Hold on a second. If I was somebody else, you wouldn't have said that," says Timberlake. "I have the No. 1 album this week, and I shouldn't have released it? Come on, man. ... None of your opinions count. And by the way, none of you can do it."
That confidence has taken Timberlake pretty far -- but it wouldn't matter if he didn't have the talent and work ethic to back it up. "I've been doing this professionally since I was 10," he points out in the interview. "If entertainment years were dog years, man, I'd be like Gandhi. I'd be like 250 years old."
GQ points out that Timberlake has had a year full of triumphs -- a comeback concert, a hit record, an Emmy nomination, the N'Sync reunion -- leading up to these two recent missteps. Some artists would question the direction of their career if their year took a similar turn for the worse. But Timberlake's philosophy is different.
"I don't see myself as someone who's ever going to be defined by one moment," he says. "It's on to the next."
People are always asking why some child stars go on to successful careers as adults, while others can't move past their teen years. Timberlake is a great example of doing it right. He works hard. He doesn't get discouraged when people make fun of him. He doesn't dwell on the past. And he takes risks in order to do the things he loves.
"I've made a career out of doing things that I should not be doing. I wasn't cool about it," he explains. "Because being cool would have meant I passed up on those opportunities. If you do that, it's because you're afraid. And what are you afraid of?"