Did you ever screw up an opportunity by not being you? This would be a better definition of this question.
Though I’m not telling you about an opportunity I screwed up, I want to tell you about an event that took place 27 years ago. I had to think about that when I watched the video I share with you today.
It was back in the summer of 1982 when I climbed up a stage together with some fellows. There is nothing special by climbing a stage I hear some say, but in this case it was for me, as it was a moment that showed me that you can manifest the things that you are focused on.
To make things more clear I have to go back some years before this stage climbing happened: In the late 70th I had a dream like every boy and girl at my age had back then and has now. In my case it was becoming a musician and at least as famous as John Lennon. When I started thinking about this I couldn’t play any instrument and surly didn’t know how to start when it came to writing songs.
When I look back at this today I feel the pain how fast time goes bye and at the same moment it comes clear to me that we have no time to waste, when it comes to get the best out of life. Yes, I talk about us, not just me. You don’t have any time to waste either when it comes to making the best out of your life. You should start, hmmm, yesterday.
However, I started with guitar lessons and ‘fired’ the teacher a year later because he didn’t showed me how to play the stuff I wanted to play. Every lessons had a children song in it and nothing else. I wanted to play grown up stuff. Of course there where discussions with the teacher who stated that I would never be able to play the stuff I want if I don’t play the stuff I don’t like.
And there where discussions with my mom who paid for the lessons. I convinced her that this lessons weren’t a good investment and that I would make a better progress if she bought me a book that I saw in the guitar store for the price of two lessons.
She agreed, though she was worried that I would give up to fast on the lessons and would end up not being able to play guitar and so give up on my dream. I don’t really think that she thought this dream thing, but I found it a nice fit in this context. It makes it more dramatic, just like in the movies.
After two weeks of purchasing and using the book, I played better than after a year of guitar lessons. The teacher was (and still is, probably) a virtuous guitar player, but he just don’t had it to teach me. We weren’t a good fit.
I learned finger picking all by myself and it didn’t took long before I played together with a mate before our class at school. The audience was enthusiastic, what nurtured my wish for more. The taste of success, no matter how little compared to worldwide fame, was sweet. I got momentum and I got more focused when I heard that a nation wide famous rock band (BAP) gave a concert in our town. I didn’t visit the concert but I had a new goal to focus on. I wanted to stand and play on the same stage as this band. In a certain way, their concert had made this stage a holy ground in the city and I secretly envied every other band who managed to play on that stage.
I think it didn’t took a year to write a couple of songs, that where good for a program of at least 90 minutes and build a band around me. You wouldn’t believe it nowadays but my voice was good back then. I have to admit that the voice of my background singer and second guitar player was better. Together with him I wrote the songs and we played nearly every day together. Gosh, this was a fun time. Today I wish I had enjoyed it even more. It is so valuable to be able to just do what you like without worrying about anything.
We had a couple of gigs and they all where pretty successful. We never had to dodge empty bottles of beer or eggs. It’s possible that one of the reasons for this was that we didn’t asked people to pay for being our audience. That was one thing we would do later.
At this time I was at the age of 15 or 16 and this band thing was my life. There was even a day when I had a private meeting in the majors office and talked him into looking for a basement or something like that for us, so we would have a better place for our rehearsals. The problem back then was that our drummer always had to move his drums and we couldn’t leave our instruments back in the room where we were practicing. The major didn’t managed to get us a room where we could left our instruments, but afterwards I found it an achievement on its own that he took the effort and listened to me, promising me his help and actually finding a room that I denied for the above reason.
The second problem we had was a technical one. We didn’t have proper and expensive stage equipment. It was always experimenting with amplifiers and hoping that the sound would be good.
Surprisingly, it took less than a year that my teacher and the director of my school asked me to play on the end-of-school-ball. I guess my American fellows would call this a graduation ball or something like that, but as it wasn’t a college I don’t want to misuse this term.
Guess where this ball took place. Right, in the hall where the stage was I was focusing on all this time. The holy ground. We managed to make use of the sound system of another band, who could afford everything we needed. They didn’t charged us for using their system and even borrowed us their sound engineer. It was our best gig ever. We never heard our selves that clear and crisp like on this day.
Maybe it’s a little surprise when I tell you that it also was our last gig. After that the band died a silent dead, I can’t remember the reason. Maybe one reason was that we all get into that age where following the call of our hormones was suddenly more important than everything else. I don’t know.
Whilst writing this article I logged in to my account on one of this social media sites we have today. I found the second guitar player and singer from back then and I wrote him my first message since much more than 20 years. It said:
You look almost precisely like you looked when I saw you for the last time (what is by the way true). So we both never became rock stars :(
Did I give up on my dreams? Yes and no. The thing is that as life changes your dreams and goals can change. Sometimes because you have to fit them into your current possibilities. Sometimes you just lose interest. Don’t worry about that. Don’t blame yourself. The most important thing here is that you don’t lose yourself.
What has this to do with the speech of Bill Cosby? Everything. I’m convinced that we did not screwed up the opportunity of this gig on this stage was the fact that we all were ourselves and not nervous because we tried to be somebody else all of the time. Being ourselves was that what brought us there. It’s that simple.
If you not already watched the 21 minute video, please do so now. I’m sure it is worth your time. It’s better than this article, so if you liked it you must watch this speech of Bill Cosby.
Have a nice week ahead and don’t worry to screw up an opportunity. If you do, don’t worry either, the next one is on its way.