I sometimes wonder what I would be like as a successful person. Have you ever sat around and thought about what you would do if you won millions of dollars in the lottery? The interesting thing about a question like that is that you would think the answer would be the same for everyone, “Well I’d be set for life then, huh?” That’s my answer. I can live comfortably on about $36,000 a year… and someday when I’m making $36,000 a year, it’ll be interesting to see what comfortable feels like. If I had even a million after taxes, I would be set for the next 27 years of my life if I didn’t work, and longer if I did. I wonder how fast I would go broke if I did win.
In November 2008, Guns ‘n’ Roses (read: Axl) released the first G’n’R studio album in fifteen years. It was called, “Chinese Democracy.” It should have been called “Patience Indeed.” The reason I bring this up is because I can’t imagine having access to studios and musicians and drugs and people who know how to use all these things and Dr. Pepper offering to buy the world a Coke and teach the world to sing if I would just get the damn album out already, and in spite of all of this, just sitting around and not doing anything for fifteen years. Sorry, I was probably unclear there. Dr. Pepper offered everyone a free Dr. Pepper if “Chinese Democracy” came out in 2008, but you had to go to their website on a particular day, and not surprisingly, their page was congested and having loading issues. These are almost the same scenario: hitting the lottery or hitting it big in an industry with the resources to make things happen. Much like I would be set for 27 years if I had the money, I would release 27 albums a year… ok, maybe not that much, but damn! You know? As a side note, I will listen to “Chinese Democracy” in November of 2023. Since Axl made us wait fifteen years, he can wait for me for fifteen years. Not that he cares, but they say you should have long term goals. And again, I wonder how long it would be before my fans were bitching me out for not releasing anything new for awhile.
I just know that I don’t utilize the resources I have available to me now, at least not well. Maybe that’s why people squander lottery winnings. Maybe that’s why bands get into petty squabbles over who the real creative genius is and who should be kissing whose ass. They never learned to be successful before they were successful. I attribute this to lack of patience, and lies about what success is. We hear phrases like, “The type who gets things done,” and, “overnight success.” It’s not really how it works in most cases though.
When I get an idea in my head, I want it done in the next few minutes or so. I do pretty horribly with the part where I have to sit down and patiently take the steps necessary to succeed. I have to wonder how that would translate if I ever had the resources to make things happen. Have I learned enough about succeeding to do well with barriers down? I’ve heard it said that it’s better to make small mistakes along the way than to make huge mistakes. This is usually said about money, but I’m sure it applies to many things in life.
I think that more so than any other year in my life, I want this year to be about me learning to succeed. I want to learn about persistence, focus, and intent. I want to learn about recovering from setbacks, succeeding at the small steps along the way to succeeding at the big, and reviewing my priorities each time I accomplish the previous priority.
I think that many of us can look back on the last fifteen years of our lives and find something that is our own “Chinese Democracy.” It’s the goal we’ve been promising ourselves forever, and not using the resources we have available to just do the best job we can with the goal. If it sounds like I’m giving Axl a pass just because I’m guilty too, then ask me before November of 2023 what I thought of “Chinese Democracy.” I have more important priorities to get to, thank you. And I never got my Dr. Pepper…