I’M HALFWAY through the book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck," by Mark Manson, which I picked up from my nephew’s bookshelf. And no, I didn’t give a f*ck that he wasn’t there. I just texted him and said, “Hey, I’m stealing your book.”
So anyway, I read about two guys named Dave and Pete and they have been bouncing around my head for a week now. I think they want me to write about them so they can get out and leave me in peace.
Dave was a guitarist for a band that had just gotten its first recording contract. Immediately after recording their first album, Dave was fired due to his excessive use of drugs and alcohol. He was literally told to pack up his bags and go home.
On the bus, he did a lot of thinking and soul-searching and vowed to formed a new band that would eclipse his former one. He worked hard for the next couple of years and managed to form another band that would become a legend, would tour the world many times over, and would sell over 25 million albums.
Dave is David Scott Mustaine, guitarist, lead singer and primary songwriter of the heavy metal band Megadeth.
One may think that Dave got his revenge and redemption but the twist in this story is that the band he was kicked out of was Metallica, considered by many as one of the greatest rock bands of all time, selling over 180 million records, eclipsing Megadeth’s record many times over.
In a 2003 interview, Mustaine admitted still feeling like a failure, despite all he had achieved, because he chose to see himself in the shadow of Metallica’s success.
Now let’s go to Pete who shares a similar story. Pete Best was a drummer for another band that had just gotten its first recording contract, and like Dave, Pete also got kicked out. As his replacement, the band brought in a guy named Ringo. And if you hadn’t guessed it yet, that band was the Beatles.
Unlike Dave, however, Pete didn’t go on to form his own record-breaking band or become world famous or superbly wealthy. In fact, shortly after his firing, his other musical projects were horrible failures and he even once attempted to kill himself.
In a 1994 interview, however, Pete declared that he was a lot happier than he would have been with the Beatles. He met the love of his life, married her, had children, kept a steady job, and led a relatively simple existence. But he realized that was more important to him than having fame, riches or glory.
So here is a snapshot of two people in the later stages of their lives and career, looking back at what they have been through. Though one was wildly successful and achieved what only a few could ever experience, he considered himself a failure. While the other led a life like millions of others on the planet, and yet, was happy and content.
The lesson in stories like these is, as Manson writes, “We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”
And therein lies the secret of being happy.
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