Sunday, September 7, 2008


A quote from Alan Cross' Ongoing History of New Music, from an episode on successful bands that came from very small towns - it's written about musicians, but it could apply to anyone working hard to become world class in any discipline.

It's much easier to be a pessimist than an optimist. And people are always telling others that their dreams are unrealistic, naive or stupid. It can get discouraging. I don't know how you feel, but I think this pessimism is part of the Canadian psyche. I get the feeling that unless we're talking about hockey, the general feeling of this country is that we'd rather have egalitarian mediocrity over celebrating and striving for individual excellence. I think that the twin mottos of Canada should be "who do you think you are?" and "why can't you just be happy with what you have?". Sure the odds at succeeding at certain things may be long - but so what? Doing something awesome is by definition hard to do. It's supposed to be - otherwise everyone would do it and it wouldn't be special. We don't live in a world of kids' soccer where no one keeps score and everyone gets a trophy to preserve their self esteem. In the real world - and in the global scheme of things - you have to compete. And yes, the possibility of failure and disappointment is there. In fact, the chances are that you will fail, especially if you're hoping to make it as a professional musician. Or you might get lucky and get to live your dreams, no matter where you come from. And if it doesn't work out, maybe you'll still have some fun trying. Three chords and the truth. That's your formula.

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