I wanted to comment on a quote in yesterday’s post about becoming a superstar that illustrates an aspect important for the aspiring star — you. And, again, superstardom can mean breakout success in any area — starting a company, making CEO, being a superstar boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, etc.
A musician I quoted yesterday commented that American Idol’s shooting-the-moon style
isn’t really about music. It’s about all the bad aspects of the music business – the arrogance of commerce, this sense of ‘I know what will make this person a star; artists themselves don’t know.’
I’ve only seen a few minutes of the show, but it looks like the judges speak authoritatively (not that they have authority, just that they speak that way) on what will make someone a star, yet artists themselves don’t know. Nor do their parents, managers, fans, or anyone else. Sure, someone seeing early Springsteen or Gaga (or an early Gandhi, Oprah, Einstein, or any breakout success in any field) might suspect talent worth of superstardom, but in what, no one could say. If anyone could consistently tell, the artists would do those things already.
If you want extraordinary success you have to explore. Nobody knows what inside them will combine the necessary parts of expressing themselves genuinely and authentically with resonating with the public without testing the waters.
This complements my view that you don’t find your passion, you create it.
And the criticism of American Idol echoes my advice on how to generate lots of attention and why I won’t do it. American Idol judges are the epitome of judgmental (duh, it’s their jobs). They create dramatic emotions, which generates attention, but don’t contribute value, since they don’t know what they’re talking about. Only time does, for people who pay their dues.
Maybe I’m overly conservative about these things. Please tell me about counterexamples to put holes in my perspective.
So far the best counterexamples I can think of are the founders of Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. As far as programming goes, I think they all had paid their dues — their first products functioned as designed. Malcolm Gladwell’s book on success used Gates as an example of someone who paid his dues by the time of Microsoft’s success. As far as business goes… well, it’s hard for me to say. I try to avoid doing any business with two of them and mostly avoid doing business with the third.
Still, it’s hard to avoid seeing them as having paid some dues before their successes and paying their dues along the way, taking heavy hits.