Success through failure

 Real success can only be gotten through failure…and the willingness to set yourself up for that failure.

By now we’re starting to wake up to the reality of social media existence…for better or worse.  While we now acknowledge the loneliness and sense of separation and longing that is only accentuated by this facade of community, we can’t and must not stop there.  I think this complete lack of follow-through is a big collective problem, individually and as a culture.  We’re good at finding the reasons something happens, and pinpointing the scientific results of those findings, but we tend to stop there, which is only barely the point of departure.  What’s lost is how to move through this new knowledge and come out the other side having learned something and also transformed our behaviors because of it.  (LIke the hunger for truth but the inability to digest it when it’s put on your plate.) We have a complete lack of follow-through as a society.  Artists and musicians often tend to be conscious people, and through struggle and discipline we learn to overcome habits, behaviors, and beliefs… and that’s exactly what our unconscious culture must desperately learn to do as it drowns in dystopian fixation…

So with our complete lack of follow-through acknowledged…there’s actually a pre-cursor phenomenon that I want to address here: the need to fail.  The only way to break through to something new is to try something new.  And in order for that to happen you have to know, that there will be a considerable amount of failure.  The larger the breakthrough, the more potentially devastating the failure but the more worthy the outcome.  You have to set your sights on a much larger goal to be able to handle it.  In the A-D-D land of today nobody’s invested in anything for more than 30 seconds before checking their phone…LET’S FOCUS PEOPLE!


Check out this segment on Jon Stewart with Billy Crystal.  Comedians of course know this well…probably even more so than musicians.


We are systematically eradicating the existence of failure.  Social media is an unabashed display of “looking good”, an orgiastic playground of the ego, with no checks and balances or opportunity for real vulnerability.  Some are better than others at keeping it real…but that in a way, this is also “looking good”.  Is it even possible for our failures and vulnerabilities to exist in the digital domain?  I’m just as guilty as anyone.  As a career musician I feel it’s my obligation to post the best pictures, reviews, and daily happenings to show how successful, busy, and happy I am with what I do (which, ultimately I am…but that’s only half the story).  Not only as a marketing tool (gag), but seriously, I think it helps me too to spin this idea of success for myself out of my own insecurities.  It’s so important to be enjoying what you do and acknowledging your gratitude for it, but we need to cultivate the wisdom to not just flitter off into some idyllic lala-land. We also need to acknowledge the struggle and work and insecurities that are to be dealt with everyday too.  Through that stuff is really the only way we get better.   The struggle injects soul into what you do.  We are largely a soulless culture in the mainstream realm…with meaningless jobs making meaningless stuff and listening to meaningless music.  The irony therein of course, is that it all becomes an EPIC FAIL.  A failure to create things of substance, soul, and meaning.  A failure to push boundaries and solve problems.  A failure to achieve a level of mastery through dedication and hard work.


As always, the musical path runs parallel to life and spirituality in my mind.  To those seeking pleasure, success, and meaning out of a musical path: embrace the failures, embrace the poor reviews, embrace sounding terrible as you learn.  Keep your eye on the goal of pushing forward, don’t make comparisons, stop trying to “look good”, and create something that makes your soul shine…whatever that may be.  In doing so you will discover things about yourself and inspire those around you to feel safe to be…vulnerable…to feel safe to fail too…









This entry was posted in General Music. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Success through failure

  1. Josh (from Mikee L) says:

    Matt, Michael sent this to me. I really appreciate the wisdom in both your communication and the Ira Glass text.

    Cheers Brother!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *