So I used to play in a band with this guy who, well, has turned out to be quite a bit more successful than I am as a musician, at least in the commercial sense. When I see my former band mate doing the rounds on the morning talk show circuit talking about his new CD and his upcoming tour with another major recording artist, I’m happy for him. I truly am. But I’d be lying If I said that I didn’t also have a little twinge of jealousy. There’s a small part of me that wishes that was me and feels that deep down I’m a better songwriter and a better musician and although his success is great for him, it’s not fair. I start to think about how he’s probably just more successful because he’s better looking than me ( he is) or because he’s younger than me ( he is) or that he simply got luckier than I have (he probably did). In other words, I turn into a cynical little bitch. As much as I hate to admit it, I get a little jealous sometimes.
But the more I reflect on my feeling of jealousy and what that emotion truly means, I realize that beneath the jealousy there’s a feeling of disappointment in myself, and ultimately a realization that what I truly feel isn’t jealous of my friend’s success. What I really feel is upset that I haven’t done as much as possible to make my own dreams come true. Sure, I talk about how as musicians we should all be happy that we’re able to just make a living doing what we love, and I truly feel that way. There are much, much worse fates in life. But, let’s be honest, some of us do more and try more to go after our goals. Some of us risk everything to go after what we want, with no guarantees of anything in return.
And sometimes, despite what everyone says about how the music industry is dying, sometimes, despite all the odds, dreams do come true.
When that happens, we shouldn’t be jealous. We should be inspired - inspired by the fact that it’s still possible. It’s still possible to dream big dreams. It’s still possible to make those dreams come true. Despite all the gloom and doom about the music business, musicians are still making CDs, going on tours and making a name for themselves.
The music industry has definitely changed, but we can still aspire to be the best we can be in the context of this new paradigm. We can still dream to become bigger and better versions of ourselves. We can still reach for the stars and with a lot hard work and some luck we can still get there.
Get rid of jealousy, it’s a stupid emotion. Instead, channel those feelings into motivation - motivation to dig deeper and push ourselves harder. I truly don’t care if I ever become famous or not, that’s not my motivation and never has been. But I refuse to be anything less than the best I can be, as a musician and as a person. That’s what I strive for, to push myself as hard as I can and to become the best musician and songwriter I can be. When I see someone reach their goals before me, I’m happy for them. Someone has to pave the way for the rest of us to realize there’s still a path to reach our goals.
It’s not time to rest on our laurels yet.
In : July 2014
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