Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
This just in from our news desk– LIFE IS DIFFICULT! Oh, and in a related story – it’s not fair either. I didn’t happen to just stumble across these particular revelations today, but it’s becoming a lot clearer as I get older that anyone’s chances of hitting anything really big are extremely tiny.
I happen to know a lot of people who happen to be in the creative arts in one way or another. It doesn’t matter if it’s standup comedy, acting, radio, music, writing, professional wrestling or any other artistic pursuit – there are zero guarantees the best people in any of them will ever hit it big.
The term ‘hit it big’ can be defined differently depending on who is asked to define it, but I am referring to the biggest of the big - the ‘A’ listers. I’ve crossed paths with literally THOUSANDS of aspiring artists of all genres in my time, and only a handful have ever made it to that top level.
I’ve been doing standup comedy the longest, and the three names – wait, four that pop into my head of those who really hit it are Jeff Foxworthy, Drew Carey, Larry The Cable Guy and Frank Caliendo. I would say all those guys have household name recognition with the American public.
I have no personal issues with any of those four, and I’m not jealous of their enormous success. BUT…I would like to be able to figure out exactly why it was only them. No offense to anybody on the list, but other than Frank being able to impersonate the current celebrities of his day I have no idea why the other three have been able to climb so high while so many others are struggling.
Again, I like Jeff, Drew and ‘Larry’ (not the name I knew him as when I met him, but that’s his secret and I’ll respect it) very much as people, and I’m happy they hit pay dirt. But can’t there be at least a little pay dust left over for the thousands of others who have rolled their own life dice?
SO many examples come to mind of people in all genres who have slugged it out for years, and only had minimal success. My friend Mike Moran comes to mind. He wrestled professionally for years, and came up the ranks with numerous marquee names of that field like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Mankind. He had fun and made a living, but that’s about it. He’s not rich or famous.
That’s no insult to Mike either. He’s a great guy, and very good at what he does. He paid a big price to attain his skill level, and he’s one of the best in the world. But that doesn’t pay any of his bills, and he is just another name on a list. Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t any better of a wrestler.
I had dinner tonight with my speaker friend Todd Hunt. Todd works harder than anyone I have ever met when it comes to marketing himself, and he makes a living speaking at corporate events all over North America. Todd and I knew another speaker named John Powers who passed away this week. John was a wonderful guy and very talented, and he was successful but not Zig Ziglar.
Being at the top of any field is just plain rare – and talent alone does not dictate who gets there and who doesn’t. A lot of it is luck, with a lot of other things mixed in too. The sooner one learns to accept that the less insane he or she will become trying to chase something that just isn’t to be.