Black Financial Friday! For those of you holding onto your dollars and nice and cozy at home, here’s a great article by my friend over at MyMoneyDesign.com. While I, too, always wanted to become a rock star, I sadly couldn’t play an instrument to save my life. So instead I pretended to be a lead singer of a band to impress the ladies ;) Sometimes a mohawk really comes in handy!]
There is a spot in my basement where I keep all of my guitars. 7 of them to be exact. They’re right next to my drum set, the PA system, and the computer I used for making recordings.
You might say I really like music.
From time to time my son and I will go downstairs, turn the amps up really loud, and jam out to a few simple riffs (as well as any nine-year-old can do playing the drums).
But then after a short while it all goes silent again. We go back upstairs and I go back to my life of worrying about my job, paying the bills, and all the other responsibilities I have as a Dad.
I remember when I first got a job and was able to finally afford to buy all of this guitar stuff. It was like a dream come true! Finally my own homemade recording studio.
But the trade-off for money was time. I am a grown-up – with a lot of responsibilities and not enough time to get them all done. So until I get it figured out, the music will have to wait.
Waking Up From a Dream…
MTV was such a cruel trick. From the time I was 12 I thought that all you had to do was learn a few guitar chords, get discovered and then you had everything you need to make it big!
I remember being in class with my friends and obnoxiously debating how many millions of albums we were going to sell before we had even played our first gig together as a band.
At the time we thought we were so good. We thought we were so original and so creative.
But the reality was anything but. To listen now to the recordings we made while playing was terrible. The songs were shitty, and we lacked any real discipline to ever truly have a shot at a music career. We juvenilely blinded ourselves into thinking we were so good that luck should just fall right into our laps.
But that’s just it. When you grow up, you realize that nothing is ever given to you. Not your career. Not your money. Not your love. It ALL has to be earned.
And sometimes getting those things comes at a price.
There is no record deal waiting for you just because you play the guitar, look a certain way, or listen to obscure bands that no one has ever heard of. A real rock star gives his career everything he has – 110%. And even from there your probability for success is about as good as being hit by lightning.
That’s been one of the hardest things to accept throughout this process of giving up the quintessential dream – knowing that music isn’t coming to save me. In my mind, I always thought if my job or life or whatever didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, there would always be the music.
But what if that’s not true? What if there really is no alternative plan or backup? What if this is really it…
Similar to the main character in Fight Club, I was finding truth in one of its most famous quotes:
“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all a part of the same compost pile.”
So then what does this mean for me? Did I fail my dreams? Did I not become the person I thought I was going to be? In a word… No. I became something better.
What It Really Means to Be a Rock Star
Did you ever think you’d wake up from a dream, only to find that you were still dreaming? Then finally you woke up for real and realized that everything you thought you were feeling was all in your head?
That’s how I felt by this part of the story.
Rather than wallow in self-pity like a self-centered teenager, I found myself discovering new ways to embrace my independence and desire to reach out to others.
The quest for financial freedom became my new mantra. If music wasn’t going to save me, my prowess with money would. I’m a smart guy. I can figure out how to pay my mortgage down quicker or save more money in my Roth IRA and 401k. Maybe if I’m really good I’ll even figure out how to retire by age 45 and spend the rest of my days never worrying about money ever again!
From learning and thinking about money came the natural transition to blogging. Blogging was great because I realized I could write one-hit wonders with words rather than guitar riffs. I could write articles that would be just as helpful to people as the lyrics to their favorite song. I could make money for my family using the website in ways that other people could not even begin to comprehend. I could tell people what I do for a hobby and they would find it intriguing.
At work I found myself trading performances on the concert stage for delivering presentations in front of my peers. I went after earning the biggest annual bonus rather than trying to have a number one album. I discovered that forming real relationships with my clients and colleagues gave me a sense of admiration and fulfillment that I didn’t even know I could feel.
I found that being a rock star meant that there was much more than having a guitar in your hand. Being an adult or a grown man with responsibilities doesn’t make you a sellout. It just means you’re maturing. It means you’re acting your age.
So what if I never sell millions of albums or perform on stage with a guitar in my hand? I’m still me. I am smart, I am sexy, and I have a lot of confidence in the things I know I can bring to the table.
When you strip away the music aspect, being a rock star was always about one thing – your swagger.
It was about being comfortable with yourself, acting the way you want to, and captivating others with your presence.
When I drive home after work in my reliable car to my beautiful house and eat good food without a single worry about how much any of it costs (because I know I’m not in debt and it’s all within my budget), that’s being a rock star.
When your boss is excited about something I did and I get a big promotion, that’s being a rock star. When you walk into a project meeting and are able to motivate a group of your peers, that’s a rock star performance.
When you write a blog and hundreds of people show up every day to see what it says, that’s being a rock star. Then when that blog you own makes over a thousand dollars per month (even while you sleep at night), that’s definitely being a rock star! (When you write an epic, free +7,500 word post for your readers with everything you need to know about how to start a money making blog, there’s no question that you’re being a rock star!)
And most importantly, when your kids think there is nothing you can’t do. Or your wife still wouldn’t trade you in even though the two of you are now 15 years older than when you first met – that’s being a true rock star.
As it turns out, becoming an adult was not really that bad. Maybe you’ll never have a best-selling album or make a music video, but that’s something you can move past now. Move on. It’s a young-man’s game, and eventually all young men have to grow up at some point. The ones who learn to embrace their true purpose are the ones who discover how to make the most of it.
Every now and again I’ll go into Guitar Center and have a look around with my son. I could easily afford any guitar hanging up on the walls, but I’m not here to buy any of them today. The true purpose of being there was because my son thinks it’s really cool, and that’s a love that I hope he and I can grow and continue to share together. That’s being a real rock star.
MMD is the blogger behind My Money Design, a site that is all about finding the right wealth building strategies that fit your lifestyle. You can follow My Money Design on both Twitter and Google+ too.
[Photo cred: diloz]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!