Childhood to Conquer Difficulties

We were told in childhood that the way to conquer a difficulty is to fight it and demolish it. That theory is, of course, the one that should be taught to young people. Many of the difficulties we encounter in youth are not permanent; and the combination of a heroic courage, a resolute will, and a tireless persistence will often – probably usually – break them down. Bu tin later years the essential elements in the situation change. We find in our little world prison-walls which no amount of battering will demolish. Within those walls we must spend our day – spend them happily, or resentfully. Under these new circumstances we must deliberately reverse our youthful technique. We must gain victory, not by assaulting the walls, but by accepting them. Only when this surrender is made can we assure ourselves of inward quietness, and locate the net step on the road to ultimate victory.


Our Difficulties

We should make ourselves stop trying to explain our own difficulties. Our first impulse is to try to account for them, figure out why what has happened did happen. Sometimes such an effort is beneficial: more often it is distinctly harmful. It leads to introspection, self-pity, and vain regret; and almost invariably it creates within us a dangerous mood of confusion and despair. Many of life’s hard situations cannot be explained. They can only be endured, mastered, ad gradually forgotten. Once we learn this truth, once we resolve to use all our energies managing life rather than trying to explain life, we take the first and most obvious step toward significant accomplishment.


You salivated over magazines and fanzines, which there were not enough of.
You rely on websites, of which there are far too many, almost none of them of high quality.

Record reviews mattered.
Record reviews are irrelevant.

You were thrilled to be inside the building.
You can’t stop bitching about security, the seats, and the lines at the poor, overpriced concessions.

You came home from the gig and told everybody about it the next day at school.
You’re at the gig and you tell everybody about it from your phone.

You didn’t think your opinion was universal and deserved to spread.
You’re pissed if you don’t have millions of followers.

It was clear who had talent.
Everybody thinks they have talent.

Stars were in bed with their fans.
Stars are angry with their fans, pissed that they’re stealing their music and won’t buy their crappy albums.

Music was expensive and everybody had little of it.
Music is cheap and everybody has more than they want.

People wanted your free music.
People don’t want your free music, hell, they’ve got the music of superstars free on their computer!

Facebook was cool.
Facebook isn’t cool. If bands can fade, why can’t websites?

You spent hours downloading music from P2P services.
You just watch what you want on YouTube. Just like the deficit, piracy in music is a red herring. It’s just too much effort. The reason you can’t sell your music in prodigious amounts is it’s just not good enough, not enough people care. When we had limited options and unlimited time we were interested in your substandard work, now with unlimited options and little time we are only interested in the very best.

Videos were expensive and mattered.
Videos are cheap and matter.

You had to wait hours for your favorite video to come up on MTV.
You dial up your favorites on YouTube and listen to them whenever you want, as many times as you want…but you must still endure the commercials.

You didn’t have time for TV because you were listening to music.
You don’t have time for music because you’re watching TV.

Movie stars wouldn’t appear in TV series.
Movie stars are eager to appear in TV series.

Documentaries were rare, you went to the theatre to see them.
Everybody’s got a documentary and you can watch them all online but you don’t want to, because you haven’t got enough time.


MTV was our national jukebox.
There is no national jukebox. There is no universality. Want everyone to know your name? Then KILL someone. Making music doesn’t lead to ubiquity.

Being on the cover of “Rolling Stone” meant you made it.
Being on the cover of “Rolling Stone” means you’ve already made it and the magazine is kissing your butt, your PR person negotiated interview parameters, all so they could sell more copies on the newsstand.

TV shows were on network and they were either hits immediately or canceled.
The best TV shows are on cable, and most take years to gain traction, as a result, there’s little backlash. People don’t complain about “Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” or “Sons Of Anarchy,” because they’ve earned their keep. Try to jam Lena Dunham down our throats and there’s backlash. And backlash draws attention now, but burns your career our faster. Wanna last? Start slow.

CNN was on 24/7 and featured news.
There’s little news on CNN and if you want to know what’s happening, you go to the web. Hell, CNN’s site is better than the channel!

You couldn’t sell a record unless you had major distribution.
Anybody can sell a record. Don’t be sour grapes. If you haven’t made it, it’s your fault, the barriers to entry are incredibly low.

David Bowie comes back and he’s not only in the press, he’s all over MTV and the radio and he has a hit with “Let’s Dance.”
David Bowie comes back and he’s not on the radio and there’s no music on MTV and he doesn’t have a hit.

Rap was a view from the street.
Rap is a view from 36,000 feet, outside the window of a private jet.

Honesty was in rock.
Honesty is in country.

Musicians were leaders.
Musicians are followers.

You discovered new acts when they opened for your favorites.
You discover new acts at festivals, you don’t even bother to get there in time to hear the opening act at a regular show.

TV networks had 90+% of the audience.
TV networks have less than 30% of the audience.

The key to success was a good manager.
The key to success is a good manager.

It was all about the album.
It’s all about the single.

The radio was the tribal drum.
The mobile phone is the tribal drum.

Why is everybody incompetent?

21. Know What You Don’t Know

Be a sponge, learn from everyone. The street sweeper to the CEO. They all have knowledge to impart. Be a receiver, not a seller.

22. Degrees Don’t Count

Only in professions like health and law, doctors and lawyers. Otherwise, we’re all flying by our wits. Don’t tell us where you’ve been, especially if it’s got nothing to do with where you’re planning on going.

23. Don’t Drop Names

This just makes you look anxious and foolish. If you have mutual friends, by all means mention them. But if you think we’re impressed that you know so and so…you’re wrong. Hell, if you’re that big a player, why are you talking to me?

24. Don’t Lie

The truth always outs. Lie to get a job, everybody does, trump up your experience. In other words, when the game is rigged, forget the rules. But in everyday life the currency is not money so much as credibility and trust. Remember that.

25. Stay Off Business In Social Situations

The exec talked business all day, he wants to relax. Focus on his hobbies or something in the news or… You get through to someone through their heart, not their brain. Someone who’s all business all the time is very boring.

26. Stay On Point And Don’t Waste Time

We don’t want to know where you grew up and what you had for dinner and whether your car is running smoothly, unless all this takes less than sixty seconds. Get to the heart of the matter, no one’s got time to waste.

THANKS for listening and hopefully learning from my RANTS and RAVES.


Why is everybody incompetent?

8. Spelling Counts

Not in texts, but if you’re asking a favor. How hard is it to run spell-check? And while we’re at it, do your best to employ good grammar.

9. Take A Shower

Show up in your basketball sweats, I don’t care. But if you’ve got B.O. not only does it show disrespect, it makes your counterpart wonder what planet you’re living on.

10. Don’t Ask Before Giving

We abhor takers. But when someone gives, it’s hard not to reciprocate. This is less about gifts and more about favors. Open the door, whether it be physical or metaphorical. Make life easier. We’re all vulnerable to that.

11. Don’t Be A Kiss-Ass

Sucking up never works, certainly not for long. Be respectful, but don’t grovel, don’t manipulate. It may not be discernible at first, but it comes out and people wince.

12. Don’t Sell Until Ready

You rarely get two bites at the apple. Just because you have access, that doesn’t mean you should sell. The pitch is secondary to the product. Only play when you’re ready.

13. Know What’s Important

Go to trade shows to schmooze with your buddies.  If you never say no, you will never get to yes.

14. Say Thank You

It’s easy! A simple text or e-mail. It acknowledges that you’re aware a favor has been done. We love doing favors, it makes us feel good. But when we don’t get appreciation, we get pissed.

15. Listen

You might learn something. If you can’t shut up, you’re not going to go far. You already know what you know, you can learn from others, but only if you LISTEN!

16. Don’t Be A Know-It-All

Nobody knows everything. And sometimes you’re right, and the other person is wrong. But smart people know when to correct mistakes and when not to. If someone’s going to drive off a bridge, or fly in the wrong direction, by all means speak up. But if they say coffee used to be a dime and you know it was a nickel, correcting the other person just makes you look like a jerk.

17. Be Open

Only politicians don’t change their minds. You’re not running for office. If you’re not willing to admit you were wrong and do a 180, you’re never going to swim upstream.

18. Famous Does Not Mean Rich, Never Mind Respected

You think it’s about attention. No, it’s about the work. And it’s a very long haul. Paris Hilton is already a footnote, how long do you think it will be before Kim Kardashian is one too!

19. You Don’t Have To Respect Your Elders

Just because someone’s older than you and more experienced that does not mean they’re right. But chances are you’re not going to be able to convince them of this, you’re going to have to go your own way, do it by yourself. Good luck!

20. Speak Coherently

Talking like you’re from the street will not impress those who never go there.

Why is everybody incompetent?

The next few days…. a list of PET PEEVES that we probably all have… I just wrote them down.

1. Show Up

You can’t make it if you don’t arrive. In person is nice, but e-mail and social networking is cool. Just react. Or don’t be surprised when you end up in your own private backwater, complaining that nobody cares.

2. Don’t Be Late

Unless you want to piss people off. Sure, five or ten minutes is de rigueur, but, if you’re gonna go beyond this, SEND A TEXT! An e-mail, dial the phone! It’s EASY! We understand if you make an effort. But if you don’t…

3. Don’t Send Form Letters

We’re overloaded with spam, but you send one of those press releases or hit REPLY TO ALL, Give me a break, you’re just pissing me off.

4. Make It Personal

If you’re going to bother to connect, make it a one-off. Ten personal e-mails are better than a hundred spam bcc’s. If you address it to me, I’ll read it, I’ll pay attention, I know you’ve made an effort. But if it’s to me and who knows who else, forget it.

5. Be Nice

I get it. You’re pissed off you’re not where you want to be. I sympathize. But if you’re going to bother to interact with someone, especially if they’re higher up on the business food chain, your only possibility of gaining traction is to be nice. It’s just like your mama told you, flies are attracted to honey. You don’t have to do it this way, you can fly solo and wow everybody. Be my guest, I love the left field success. But if you want to play the game, cordiality is key.

6. Do What You Say You’re Gonna Do

No one ever does. So you’ll stand out if you do.

7. Finish

Whether it be school or cleaning the house. It shows that you care, that you have pride in your work, that you can be counted on.


To Increase Speed AND Comprehension

Most of us learn to read by looking at each word in a sentence — one at a time.

Like this:

My — brother — Russell — thinks — monsters…

But word-by-word reading is a rotten way to read faster. It actually cuts down on your speed.

Clustering trains you to look at groups of words instead of one at a time, and it increases your speed enormously. For most of us, clustering is a totally different way of seeing what we read.

Here’s how to cluster: Train your eyes to see all the words in clusters of up to three or four words at a glance.


Learning to read clusters is not something your eyes do naturally. It takes constant practice.

Skim — If It’s Short and Simple

Skimming is a good way to get a general idea of light reading such as popular magazines or the sports and entertainment sections of the paper.

Skimming is also a great way to review material you’ve read before.

You and I may not pick up exactly the same words when we skim the same piece, but we’ll both get a pretty similar idea of what it’s all about.


Skimming can give you a very good idea of this story in about half the words, and in less than half the time it’d take to read every word.

Tomorrow…. How to read faster and understand most, if not all, of what you read, you need to know a third technique.

Learn to read faster

You’ll have time for a good laugh with Mark Twain – and a good cry with War and Peace.

1. Preview — If It’s Long and Hard

You should be able to preview eight or ten 100-page reports in an hour. After previewing, you’ll be able to decide which reports (or which parts of which reports) are worth a closer look.

Here’s how to preview: Read the entire first two paragraphs of whatever you’ve chosen. Next read only the first sentence of each successive paragraph. Then read the entire last two paragraphs.

Previewing gives you a quick, overall view of long, unfamiliar material. For short, light reading, there’s a better technique. 

Previewing doesn’t give you all the details. But it does keep you from spending time on things you don’t really want — or need — to read.

No. 2…….. Tomorrow……..(Skim — If it’s Short and Simple)