"People who end up living their dreams are not those who are lucky and gifted, but those who are stubborn, resolute and willing to sacrifice."
And while I've got your attention, I want to talk about compromise.
I can't stop watching "Newsroom." One of the things I love about it is the critics hate it. But the ratings are good, it keeps soldiering on and it's been renewed for another season. And sure, it defines the political and TV news issues, but it also brings up moral issues. Like values. And compromise.
They're changing the format of the broadcast because the ratings tanked. Nancy Grace covered Casey Anthony and they didn't and they lost half a million viewers overnight and the big boss is pissed and the honchos cave. Why? Because they want the debate. The Republican debate. It's fifteen months ago, spring of '11, and they want to have an impact.
This is what businessmen do.
This is not what artists do.
This is what politicians do. That's why I keep scratching my head about D.C. Believe in what you want Republicans, but your job in Congress is to legislate, to move things forward, it's a giant sausage factory and you're on the line, work. But they won't. They're standing on ceremony, they're hewing to their principles.
No one gets to do this in business. Not even Steve Jobs.
That's why we revere artists. They're above the fray.
But now the artists have become beholden to the businessmen. Or they're businessmen themselves. Hell, if your goal is have a perfume and clothing line, you're in the land of expedience. It's not like you're creating breakthroughs, you only want the money, the cold hard cash. Furthermore, these so-called "artists" listen to their labels, agents and managers, who are businessmen themselves, with different priorities. The way it works is the artist is on top of the pyramid, everybody works for him. But it hasn't been that way in a very long time. Not since Tommy Mottola and his ilk made much more cash than any artist and every artist's career seemed to last a nanosecond. The businessmen gained control of music and instead of fighting to get it back, the artists capitulated.
Which brings us back to the quote above. Most people don't get a say. Because you're not an artist. Maybe you can play your instrument and put your songs up on iTunes, but that doesn't make you an artist, any more than playing sandlot ball makes you a major leaguer. Only a few people get to play in the big leagues. And if you think these are well-rounded friends to all, you've never met one. Successful artists are narcissists. Who only care about themselves and their careers. You come second. Whether you're the girlfriend or the manager, it makes no difference. Hell, if you're a manager you're just a day away from getting fired. If you're not moving the ball forward, you're in jeopardy. Hell, you can be doing great work and still lose your job, because the artist is mercurial and impressionable.
Most people have no idea what it takes to make it. They think it's about putting in 10,000 hours practicing in their bedroom. Hell, you've got to do that, but you've also got to live on ramen, eat from dumpsters, use and abuse your significant other and still probably not make it. Those who succeed have run a gauntlet akin to fighting a war. And once they've emerged triumphant no one is gonna take the fruits of their labor away. Artists sleep with one eye open, always fearful of falling down the ladder. Money isn't enough, fame is just as important. They're not satisfied to be retired in Florida at their mansion, they want and need you to pay attention. Forever.
The above quote comes from an essay in the "New York Times" from a professional bicycle racer. He doped. He explained why. You couldn't win without it. Oh, he's anti-doping now. But the point is he put in all that time, years of practice, and he wanted to win. So he shaved the edges.
Which is what artists do every single day.
If you think an artist is trustworthy, you've never met one.
If an artist has kids, he doesn't spend much time with them.
An artist thinks only his opinion counts. Contradict him and you'd better have a lot of history and power, something the artist wants, or you're banished.
Are you ready to sign up for this?