Thursday, November 3, 2011

you say you want a revolution.

lately i have been contemplating a heavy amount on what defines greatness.

you see, i am passionate person.

the kind of person that finds happiness in a hard days work. especially when that work is channeled towards something i can really believe in. something i can grab up and run with. full force.

i have been surrounded my whole life by driven individuals that have consistently worked their a’s off--in every aspect of life. wanting to make a change. hoping to leave some sort of mark. something to leave behind. something for this world to remember.

it was born a part of me. and whatever wasn’t--was then tattooed to my wrist to never escape my main focus (metaphorically. of course. but if i did have a tattoo--it would be on my wrist. yes, i have it planned out for that day when i am forced to stain my skin with permanent ink)

why? for starters, i have a father that has never rested a day in his life. almost to a point of obsession.

to an excess amount where you just want to yell at him and tell him to sit down. just sit for two full seconds.

one-mississippi. two-miss-iss-ippi.

nope, he won't last.

and in addition to that madness, i have a mother that never stops thinking of others. their needs. and how she can further serve them.

a true ray of sunshine upon this earth.

yes, she is.

work came before play. (which--let me tell you--seriously blew when it came to disney’s ‘one saturday morning’. i mean, we had from seven until ten to enjoy our one weekly block of pretend ‘cable’--my parents weren’t huge tv people back then...we had a grand total of about ten and a half channels--and unless we got up at six a.m. to complete the chores by seven or eight, we didn’t stand a fighting chance of catching those chip and dale rescue rangers.)

but that has been my life.

and truly, i got over the cartoon thing.

taught by the best of the best. i know what it is to work hard.

and as much as i believe in it, i am not naive to the fact that a strong work ethic doesn't always cut it. sure, it does a hell of a lot. and of course--it is the first key ingredient to getting somewhere in this heavily panting, exasperated world.

ravenous for talent.

drooling over the desire of the coveted american dream.

and obviously, those who work their butts off are already off to a much better start than those who can't seem to put two and two together.

work is key.

absolutely vital but not everything. i wish it was, but the fact of the matter is--i've seen hard work crash and burn. and i've seen it fail and fail hard.

so, what it is it?

what is the secret kick-punch-duo that leads to success? what is the truth that only a great few ever truly understand?

how can greatness be achieved?

much of my reading over the last couple of weeks has consisted of articles related to steve jobs. to his life. tributes to his death. overviews of him as a business man. praises to him as a father.

and to the irreplaceable, inescapable mark that he has left upon his departure from the world.

one article--in particular--quickly caught and kept my attention.

this new york times author focused on what exactly made jobs different from the other successes of his time.

speaking of how he wasn't 'conventionally smart' but was in-fact a genius. (see full article here)

describing that "his imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. they were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor."

i like that. yeah?

imaginative. intuitive. and magical.

three words that catch my attention with their very existence.

are these the brilliant, wise-beyond-their-years, kick-a factors that separated jobs from other brilliance of this time?

i must know.

i mean, is there really anyone out there that is not intrigued by the life and story of our friend mr. jobs? is there anyone out there that can sit back at the mention of his name and callously disregard the topic with a 'meh'?

if such an individual exists--i really have nothing to say to you.

for the rest of us, let’s really think about this.

the author of this article describes this unique style as an, “ability to apply creativity and aesthetic sensibilities to a challenge.”

when reading this, i immediately thought of another inspiration of mine. another change that the world didn’t see coming and couldn’t get enough of.

the beatles.

a 1960’s band with a hell of a lot of heart. consisting of four extremely talented musicians. who--whether they initially intended to or not--ended up changing the world.


by breaking down barriers and restrictions of recording labels and artist protocol. finding freedom in music. in rock n’ roll. that had never before been experienced. changing the face of pop culture. and therefore, changing the face of society as a whole.

revolutionary. yes, revolutionary would be an adequate word.

their recordings, described by a reporter for ‘the telegraph’ as “the holy grail, the very font of pop culture, when four individuals experienced a kind of collective accelerated musical growth that untapped all the latent potential of pop music...a voyage of wild discovery into melody, harmony, lyricism, rythm, and production...”

agreed. 100%.

i grew up listening to the beatles. they’re my go-to every time i have a bad day. my song that i can always sing along to. my comfort when i just need something familiar, something that feels like home (that--and entire full house gang of course.)

they’re the foundation of music as many of our generation know it.

so where is the similarity here? where are the common themes? where exactly was that button of ‘greatness’ pushed?

let me push it. pleassssse.

here's how i see it. see, i know music. i know musicians. not one personally but i’ve known and dated many of them--probably too many. trust me.

i know grunge. i know classic rock. country. pop. indie. whatever, you name it. and i know that the beatles are not necessarily looked at as some perfectly talented, flawless group that could not be surpassed.

and i agree. there are obviously people out there who--by all technical reasoning--would have been deemed better musicians.

john and paul weren’t necessarily the best songwriters of all time. no, there is really no way to measure that (though i would argue that they just may have been).

and georgey-boy's technical proficiency was probably not perfect.

but that’s just it. because it’s not about being that one perfectly trained mind. it’s not just about being the guy that can sit down at the guitar and play anything under the crazy blue sky. that's fun and all. but isn't going to make the cut between good and great.

so what is missing? what is it that jobs and the beatles both had?

my answer: magic.

the magic created by all that heart and all that imagination.

every ounce of soul that went into each individual note they played. and each brilliant stroke of creativity that went into forming the number one brand in the world.

both connecting with their audiences in revolutionary ways. both--not letting themselves fear failure.

that's where the magic is found.

technically. sure. my boy george could have been beat out by some other guitarist. mathematically, sure bill gates could probably crunch out some high profile numbers at a more rapid rate than jobs ever could.

but emotionally. not a chance.

that deadly mix of talent and heart. a little bit of luck. an undeniable magic. and here we are today. both--still very much alive in all of our hearts.

still influencing the world and its progression.

jobs believed in the power of intuition. the need for imagination, and the ability think creatively.

and he went with it.

trusting in his senses. having confidence in his ideas--even if they had yet to make complete sense. eventually, creating a world that we would have never understood ten years ago.

so, i now ask you again. what defines greatness?

a little bit of magic. some good ol’ fashion intuition. and a great deal of creativity.


thank you mr. jobs. and thank you beatles for this song.

oh, and if you’d like a little preview into another up-and-coming brilliance of our time. click here to check out garrett gee.

trust me. it’s impressive.


  1. this is my favorite.
    your magical kris.

  2. Magical :)

    Love it and love you.

  3. I like the comparison. Both so influential.

  4. Sarah, love you too. Neeshy, you are the most magical of all the magic. And Nate...LOVE.

  5. Loved it. My respect for you and your tastes only grows. And I totally know what you mean about them being a go to band when you have a bad day.
    You rock.


from keen.