It’s been really nice to have this forum to write again. It’s a bit of a tight-rope act for me to walk sometimes because I want to offer “unfiltered” views and opinions, but a lot of people (for ease of understanding, let’s just call them “haters”) who read these things are easily butthurt by my words.
Sweet Lou usually helps me keep things in perspective. If they are hating on you, they are making you an even bigger star, he says. I started to subscribe to that basic theory when I started to hear negative feedback not from the “office” (the people signing the checks and booking me) but from my “peers”.
Last week I wrote about some similarities that I noticed in the wrestling and music business, respectively. One thing that is easy to see is that it’s not always the most TALENTED people who end up getting over and being successful. There are a lot of factors that go into someone being a successful professional wrestler – just like there are factors that go into being successful in music that are mostly intangible. A wrestler can have the best body, best look, best in-ring ability, and for some reason they might still find it hard to connect with a crowd. A musician might be able to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen, have a rockstar look and a voice that is a combination of Fergie and Jesus – yet he’s playing shows at Jim Bob’s Rock Hut for $100 bucks and some warm Natty Light. Why?
The “it” factor.
Some people have it, some people do not.
You know what everyone DOES have? An excuse as to why they DO NOT have it.
I had a moderate level of success in professional wrestling. It certainly wasn’t because I was the best wrestler, or had the best look. What I focused on was trying to be entertaining to the fans – to “get over” with them. Cheap heat, good promos, whatever it took to connect with the people in the crowd, I wanted to make my focus. I had to work on “telling a story” because I was limited (compared to some amazing athletes) with what I was doing in the ring. Hey, Hulk Hogan had 3 moves basically, and was the most dominant wrestler in the world. Would anyone consider him a good WRESTLER? Probably not – but he had “it”.
I also alluded to the heat that Hogan had with the “boys” because he was getting paid more to do less, basically. It’s a common thread in both the music and wrestling businesses: There are a LOT of people in the same locker room who root for you to fail. They don’t want to see you move on to bigger and better things. It makes THEM have to look at THEMSELVES and ask, “What does he have that I don’t have?”
And then the excuses begin.
Excuses are like assholes: Everyone has one. Some people that I’ve worked with are some sort of medical marvels for the amount of assholes they manage to cram onto their bodies.
See here’s the thing: If you are the type of person who craves attention through performing for people chances are you’ve got a bit of an ego. (I know I do) Chances are you are looking for some sort of validation to mask your own insecurity (I know I am). Where I think I differ is this: I’m not competing against you. I’m not worried about you. I’m not looking over my shoulder at what YOU are doing. I’m doing me.
All of the haters fire away with the negativity, because that gives them their excuse. That gives them their “out” for why things aren’t going their way. “He got lucky”, “He’s not even that good”, “He just kisses ass”, “He can barely sing”, “I heard he lip syncs”, “Really? I heard he uses auto-tune.”, “His own band can’t stand him”, “I could totally do what he does… I just don’t want to”.
There are musicians who have been playing for 20 years and are some of the most talented artists in the world. I’m a guy who gets paid to put on a show. I’m a smart enough businessperson to balance that out with amazing musicians in my band. It seems to be working. The fact that I’m on the radar (and remember, I’ve been doing this less than 4 years) of guys who have 5 times the experience that I do gives me validation for my approach. The fact that performers are talking about, and worried about me is a badge of honor that I proudly wear. Thanks guys – if it makes you feel better, I haven’t thought about you for a second. Rear view mirror, baby.
One of my wrestling friends just decided to take some time off because he wanted to focus on himself for a bit. Noting bad is going on – he just wasn’t performing up to the level that HE set for himself. I have nothing but respect for the performer who can look at himself in the mirror and be harder on themselves than their harshest critics. It’s a character thing – he wasn’t going to make any excuses, he’s going to get better. That’s why he’s one of the best in the business, and he’ll be even better when he gets back. He’s also pretty much the reason I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting involved in the wrestling business again. I always had a good mind for it – just maybe not the right attitude. Now that I’m a little older, a little wiser, and a little fatter – I might be able to give back a bit more. Thanks Taylor – don’t give up kid.
I occasionally get told that people are talking about me in a negative manner. I don’t really pay attention to it (which I’m sure just pisses them off even more) because I’m focusing on the future, and doing better today than I did yesterday. It’s alienated me a bit from my peers – but it’s also elevated me. Sometimes you have to do the dirty work. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy. I decided that being successful was more important than placating everyone. Shit, I could rescue your puppy from a burning building and you would be pissed off and hate me for not stopping to grab his fucking chew toy.
Here’s the thing: If you want to make excuses, that’s fine. If you want to say that _____ is the reason that you didn’t go to school, or get a better job, or make more money, or can’t find happiness, that’s fine.
What happens when ____ is gone? What’s your excuse NOW? You still haven’t gone to school, you still have a shitty job, you still don’t have money, and you are still a miserable fuck.
What generally happens is a year later, these people are STILL talking about you, and why you “ruined their life”. I wish I had that kind of impact. I have people who I’ve never even met who have opinions about me. Again, it’s a compliment that I’m on everyone’s mind – I just don’t understand it. Every second you spend worrying about me is another second I’m spending doing better and better. All that means in the grand scheme of things is that you are falling behind more and more.
And I’m not even competing. I’m certainly not looking back, and if I did, I’d probably feel bad for you.
It’s funny – back when I broke out of my shell and started dating… a lot – I pissed some girls off. Totally my fault, and looking back I’m sure I could have handled some things with the “harem” a bit differently. The same thing in the wrestling business – I generally focused on getting MYSELF over when I could have probably worked harder on building some relationships with the boys in the back. The ire and hate got so palpable that T-shirts were actually made and sold that simply said “Blame Spiffy” on them. At least I earned that.
If you are a scorned ex-lover, and you want to sit around with a couple of other scorned ex-lovers and talk about what a dickbag I am, I totally understand and respect that. (and I’m sorry, by the way) If you are a wrestler that I wronged a decade ago because you didn’t understand what I was trying to do and you are still affected by sharing a locker room with me to this day – well that’s a bit harder to figure out. If you are a musician in your 30’s and spend time breaking bread with other musicians where I’m the focus of conversation despite having no actual contact with me for months or even years – well that’s a little bit sad.
There is a reason people are successful. There is a reason people are not. Excuses are like assholes: Everyone has one.
What’s your reason?
What’s your excuse?
Is it me?
Am I your asshole?