Ambition, or The Lack Thereof

One thing I’m not is lazy – which is how we generally think of someone who lacks ambition. Since I was twelve years old, I’ve held a job, set goals and achieved them. When I was a busboy at a country club, I was the best-damned busboy I could be. The same could be said for other jobs and hobbies, my marriage and how I approach writing and executing Beth & Scott’s Adventure. I am not lazy.

I’m not a workaholic – not anymore. I’ve gotten pretty darn good at balancing work and play, though I sometimes overdo it when I get motivated by a deadline. The point is – I can turn up the juice when I’m moved to do so.

And that’s why it baffles me some days that I have very little ambition to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. Unlike many other things I have done or am currently doing, I would rather shovel coal than take all of the necessary steps to develop myself into a force in the adult musical world.

For years, I have seen this as fear – a psychological problem to be solved by therapy, men’s work, and more recently, life coaching. No matter what I do, though, the ambition I foment is temporary and inadequate for the task. There just ain’t enough fire in the belly. Baffling. Sad. Sigh.

There’s another side to this, of course. The music business sucks. It was always a tough career to break into as a singer-songwriter, but now it’s hardly worth it (economically speaking). When the industry segued from CDs to online music, one of the principal pillars of a musician’s income disappeared. That’s why concert tickets are hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. Touring, which used to be the way to promote a CD, is now the only way to make money.

Even though I’m 60 years old, I still have a lot of vim and vigor left in me. When I need to do four shows, drive 200 miles and deal with an unruly audience, I get it done.

So, what’s a guy to do?

As of this moment, I’m turning my attention back to Beth’s yoga and our children’s music business full-time. As a consequence, I’m putting other pursuits – including adult music – in God’s capable hands. This actually feels really good. I have been experiencing a slow burn of shame and discomfort because I lacked the necessary ambition and follow-through. Now, it’s time to say, “God, if you want me to pursue this as anything but a hobby, show me a sign. Otherwise, I’m taking the pressure off of my shoulders.”

Ahhhhhh.

When I released my CD, I expected some excitement – like a firecracker. Instead, it’s been like the quiet “pffffffffff” of a candle being snuffed out by two wet fingers. Such is the reality of an independent CD release in the Spotify era. And such is the nature of our egos, the needy part of us that wants everyone to drop everything and love us. Ha!

This could change tomorrow in one of two ways: 1) I could get really motivated and start booking myself into clubs, coffee houses and house concerts (unlikely). That would surely spike sales to a few hundred per year; or 2) I could just make more music and somehow, some way, interest could grow based upon some sort of magic I don’t understand.

Hmmmm.

A wise farmer doesn’t spend too much time planting additional acres if he cannot bring it to harvest. In my case, I reserve a small plot of land by my house for me and a small group of people who want to share some music. And for that, I’m grateful.

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