The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When Is Enough, Enough? [Part 2 of 3]
July 20, 2007, 10:05 am
Filed under: Comment


So previously I wrote about the gut wrenching pain you experience when you realise you’re not going to be the success you thought you were in an area where you truly believed you had a god-given talent.

Just like breaking up with your first true love … the feeling of despair is almost beyond description … and yet we somehow get through it, even though a tiny part of us gets left behind.

I know that when I realised my chances of being a Rock God were over, I literally went through a period of depression … especially as my inability to succeed was bolstered by the rather nasty legal situation I had put myself in with both the Music Union and the Publishing Rights Society.

However this post isn’t about that.  This post is about perspective.

Big World for Small Lego

You see I do not believe you should ever give up what you are passionate about … sure, you may have accept it won’t be the provider of your lifestyle, but it can still be a major part of your life.

When I was much younger, I used to be in a band that was being touted by certain individuals/publications as being on the cusp of ‘big things’

Maybe it was the innocence of youth … or the arrogance of rubbing shoulders with certain people/organisations … but I remember going to pubs and clubs and laughing at the bands whose members were 30 years plus.  To me, they looked desperate … hanging onto a dream that was never going to happen … a job for the young and hungry, not the old and tired.

Of course, my band – like millions of others – didn’t go on to Worldwide acclaim … fuck, it didn’t even go on to regional acclaim … and this ‘failure’ resulted in me walking away from writing and playing music – an art form I absolutely loved and lived for – because I was pissed off the fame and fortune I felt was going to be mine, wasn’t.

For years my guitars became decoration pieces … if I picked one up, it would be to play a few simple chords then put it back down again … and what made it worse was that because I wasn’t playing regularly [I used to practice about 5 hours a day and I did that for years] my standards fell – and then I started evaluating my ability on my current form and wondering what on earth gave me the belief to think I could ever of made it.

Of course every now and then I’d hear music I loved, and then I’d feel a pang to pick up a guitar and play along … and occasionally, I enjoyed it so much that it got me thinking about forming a band again, but the vision of those sad old bastards in pubs and clubs quickly put paid to that image and I got back to the other distractions of life.

However something then happened. 

Something good. 

Something scary good.

I was asked to help out on the music for an ad we were doing.

the week in music - soundtrack edition

Suddenly I was back into the thrill of creation and expression … it wasn’t about fame and fortune… it was about doing something that took me to a different level, sent shivers up my spine, let me feel – and suddenly I realised those 30 year olds who played in clubs and bars when I was a young whippersnapper weren’t sad old bastards, they were just people doing something they loved without expectation, pretence or hope and that’s why if I could meet the bloke from the Apple Tango audition again, I’d tell him not to give up on his passion for acting, just give up on evaluating it against exaggerated success.

Doing something you are passionate about doesn’t mean you have to be successful at it – and yet we often forget that – so if there is something you truly love … something that makes you feel truly happy and fulfilled … then you owe it to yourself to keep doing it because otherwise you’ll be like everyone else … covering up unrealistic disappointments in life by acquiring even more pointless material possessions.

big brother cracking his little brother up - _MG_3607 Big Brother

Personally I think the media has to shoulder a lot of the blame for people losing their sense of perspective.

Lets face it, they’ve been shoving images of famous people down our throats for years with the subtext their life is some sort of utopia PLUS with the rise of [un]Reality TV, people know they can now become famous [infamous?] without having to actually do anything worthy of note – they just have to be willing to look a ‘lovable twat’ on national television.

I truly believe following what you are passionate about is as important as breathing, eating and sleeping … so as long as you keep perspective on ‘what you do’ versus ‘what you might possibly one day achieve’, then the answer to when is ‘enough, enough’ is simple: Never.

PART 3 is coming soon: REDEMPTION

[Yes this is like a RAMBO movie. Just not as fun or enjoyable, ha!]

16 Comments so far
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I love this post as much as the last one Robert, but where is it all leading to and are you sure you’re OK? Maybe I’m doing 2+2 and making 9 but has this got anything to do with your meeting next week?

Comment by Pete

All’s fine Pete – don’t you worry but thank you for the thoughts. I’ll give you a ring over the weekend [1] to catch up and [2] get your perspective on my upcoming ‘battle’, ha!

Comment by Rob

A great post on a very important topic. The moment people stop following what they’re passionate about, they allow something inside of them to die. And this invariably leads to a sense of failure and bitterness about life. The “what if I had…..?” question will be etched on their minds for the rest of their lives.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Fuck this advertising lark Freddie … lets become self-help gurus.

Years ago I used to have a piss-take Agony Aunt’s [Uncle?] blog called SOB2ROB … so why don’t we re-start that … get on Oprah … and depress the entire Western World.

[Though some would say we are doing that already!]

Comment by Rob

That last line of yours sums it up.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Doesn’t it just!

Comment by Rob

This is all something I’m learning to get my head around.

Comment by Marcus

Like in all good stories, the final part is the where the ‘moral’ becomes apparent and everything ties up nicely.

[At least it should, I haven’t written Part III yet and I’ll be buggered if I know how to make it all make some sort of sense, ha!]

Comment by Rob

I’m with Pete, are you alright? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely theme of posts, but as you wear your heart on your sleeve, there must be something that brought this all on. Stiff upper lip and all that mate. Talk later.

Comment by George

Don’t worry George … I’m just sentimental 🙂

Comment by Rob

Spot on about the musicians, absolutely spot on.

It so easy to be bitter about these things, but in reality bitterness just takes away time…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

So you’re saying the next one will feature Russians and an ageing sex symbol?

Comment by John Dodds

The disposable culture has equated success with celebrity. Its complete bollocks and all we ever do is ram that image down peoples throats when the reality of celebrity is that its a well paid job being the fox in a fox hunt. Just do what you love and the right thing follows.

Comment by charlesfrith

How sad ad agencies are – in the main – the antithesis of that eh Charles?

Far too many are focused on making cash rather than doing what is right and being paid as a byproduct of their passion, attention and bravery.

How are you mate? Any news on ‘stuff’?

Comment by Rob

It was this post that resonated. When I left the Tron I was touted as possibly a great freelance lighting designer with an excellent future given the connections that I had made in the Tron. I believed that too.

It turned out I was rubbish at it. Rubbish. The Tron’s creative spirit and ethos wasn’t financially viable in the big, bad world and I floundered badly. Really badly. Never enough to ruin a show but not enough to be happy with my work. I kept hearing myself saying, “At the Tron we used to do it like….”.

The final straw was when I lit a panto (I love, love lighting pantos, it’s beautiful) without any real directorial input then had to light Romeo and Juliet with the same director but with massive directorial input. I couldn’t understand why this was and why you could rate Shakespeare higher than a panto. Why couldn’t I get equal direction on one and not the other? Fucking elitism.

Then, automatically, I heard myself saying, “At the Tron we put in the same effort into our Shakespeare as we do our panto.” I looked like a wanker, I felt like a wanker and then I realised that what I had loved had changed and that I had to move on. Lighting had changed from a love of doing a thing to loving doing a thing in a time and in a place and a very special environment.

Enough was enough.

Thanks Rob for making me think of how I felt about and so timely too. Thank you.

Comment by Stewart

Ahhhhh the ol’ ‘I used to do this as I enjoyed it now I’m taking it all so bloody seriously’ wake up call.

Just be glad you saw what you were becoming – I know alot of people who still walk around in a World of delusion, ha!

Comment by Rob

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