I know you probably came here to get some money making and money saving tips today. Sometimes I write about that specific topic and other times I see myself as some kind of motivational writer, the kind that can get you to think about the “how” you can do better with your finances, job, and life. I think I can do that for a couple of reasons. One, being older, it’s fairly easy for me to see the mistakes I personally have made and looking back on the things I could have done to avoid them. And two, there’s the practical me. The person that can see clearly now just what to do and how to reach goals and fulfill dreams. Unfortunately it took 70 years or so to get there, and I’m telling you so you have a better chance to get there sooner rather than 70 years later or never.
So that got me to thinking. What do all of us really want in life? Is it fame and fortune? Is it wealth? Is it security? Or is it true that “All You Need is Love” as the Beatles once sang? It might just be all of the above rolled into one giant big ball. So, how do we get there?
“Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!” – Ed Sullivan Sunday, February 9, 1964
It’s no secret around my house that The Beatles are my favorite musical group ever. Ever since that memorable Sunday night in 1964 when age 14 me and 70 million other people tuned in on TV to see the phenomenon that was the Fab Four, I’ve been a fan.
Truthfully, I am not alone in my admiration and amazement, and even the folks who are not boomers and weren’t actually there when it all began pretty much agree with me. History has shown and will forever agree that there have been few if ever anyone or anything like The Beatles. But how did that all happen and what can we truly learn from it? Was it pure talent? Was it dumb luck? Was it simply magic? Or was it something else? Maybe it was a combination of all of that and something else too? I have my own theory.
We All Have to Start Someplace, Don’t We?
Each of us had a beginning and the fact is we had nothing to do with that. We were just the beneficiary or the victim of circumstance when we were born. If we are healthy and lucky enough to be born in a good place, we have a head start in life that millions of others don’t have.
So in the 1940’s, being born in a place like England may not have been the best thing that could have ever happen to anyone. That is unless you’re a fan of being at war and being bombed by another country and perhaps living in poverty in a poor English seaport (that Liverpool was in that era). Yes it could have been worse, but not much worse.
So four boys are born around the same time back then and are just like millions of other boys. They manage to survive and despite many hardships while growing up (you can look all that up if you like: divorce, childhood illnesses, and deaths in the immediate family), they make it into their teens.
The one thread of commonality that they all have is a love of music, specifically “Rock and Roll”, which was first booming around the mid 1950’s. Like millions of others, they loved it and each (unknown to the others) wanted to be a star just like their heroes: Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, and the like. A fat chance that could ever actually happen to them, right?
A Series of Events With One Thing in Common
I’m not here to historically document the lives of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. There are dozens of books about them and you can read those if you really want all the details (or you just might recall them if you happen to actually had lived through the times). But there are common threads running through their all of their lives. More than one you say?
We know how talented they were. We know how charming they were. We know how lucky they were. And we know how perfect their timing was. What we still don’t know—and it’s so hard to pinpoint—is how all of this potential energy actually cohered into such a singular cultural force. Why and how did John, Paul, George, and Ringo become The Beatles?
Strategy #1 – Practice, Does Practice Make Perfect?
Short answer, probably yes, and it sure doesn’t hurt. The Beatles played daily for hours and hours every night for years and honed their craft. But, so did hundreds of other bands and they didn’t become The Beatles. So despite the talent and despite the practice, that doesn’t seem like the reason they were the biggest and best ever. There must have been something else that was added on to that.
Strategy #2 – Really Dream Big
One thing about the Fab Four was their big dreams. John had been saying from his early teens that he wanted to go to the “top of the pops” (maybe a reference to British TV’s long running music “Top of the Pops” show which spawned our version the 60’s show “Shindig”) and they never stopped saying it as a group until it happened for them. But wishing for a dream doesn’t get you there, does it?
To go along with that dream is the realization that you should never be satisfied with your current status and results. If you are getting good results, go for better ones. If they improve, then shoot for even greater ones and so on.
That’s certainly one thing that The Beatles did time and time again. They combined ambition with grit and they fought off complacency and boredom with sacrifice, challenge, and innovation.
Think about living in a terrible place and performing all night, every night in a place like the seedy side of Hamburg, Germany just to get a chance at stardom…someday. How many could or would do that? So is that what made the big difference?
Strategy #3 – Be Just a Little Bit Different
It’s true that The Beatles were different. Different because they dressed differently, wore their hair differently, and because they created and performed their own music which was way different. But, aren’t we all a little different, too? People are a lot like fingerprints in that no two of us are exactly the same, so being different is really not being different, is it?
So What Was The Real Secret Ingredient to The Beatles Success? – Strategy #4
The Beatles’ real secret ingredient and strategy #4 was what I am going to call “swaggering presumption”. Yes, a swagger and an arrogant assumption that they would be the best band ever! I don’t mean that in any negative way. Their swagger was a kind of a foolish, adolescent presumed self-belief. It was a pretty arrogant and yet intuitive certainty that their way of doing things was the right way and would bring their ultimate success, period.
Want some proof?
Consider this: In September of 1962, The Beatles recorded a song entitled “How Do You Do It?”. Later that year, they were offered the chance to release it as their very first single record, encouraged by their famed producer George Martin to do so. He told them it was destined for #1 and they arrogantly, flatly rejected doing it simply because they hadn’t written it and therefore didn’t like or want it.
“How Do You Do It?” became the debut single by another Liverpool band, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the song did reach number one in the U.K. Singles Chart on April 11, 1963, where it stayed for three more weeks.
The Beatles recording “Love Me Do”, their first single record which they wrote and released instead only made it to #17. That might have discouraged another bunch, but not them. Without their arrogance and their talent and timing, they wouldn’t have had enough to get them on to their goal.
It took The Beatles two more attempts before finally hitting #1 in the U.K. with “From Me to You”, another of their own works later in 1963. As a note here, Gerry and the Pacemakers did have a bunch of hit records too back then, but were not to be remembered in quite the same way as The Beatles.
All of us have a bit of what The Beatles had inside when we’re young. But, then we weigh our odds and our options, and some sense of reality sets in and many times we don’t have the guts to stick with the big dream and may compromise and settle for the smaller ones. We begin to look at ourselves to find out our rank in the world’s big “talent show”. Our ambition slowly stops outstripping our abilities and then we stall out and settle down, many times into a routine and lose sight of our dreams. The Beatles never did that.
It doesn’t make any difference if your goal is to retire at 30 or to make a million dollars a year or more at your job, or even it’s even to be the world’s greatest rock star ever! The important part is the takeaway from this particular post and that is this:
You just can’t ever think that you can’t fulfill your dreams. You also just can’t think that you have it made and it’s just all going to work out if you have talent or you practice hard or try to comb your hair a little differently either. Those all may draw some attention to you, but will that ever get to your goal? Maybe it will or maybe not, but what really will?
The answer lies in there somewhere among the pages of what actually happened to the world’s greatest band, and I think it was more than just any of the things like talent or magic or dumb luck. It probably was their special determination to never take no for an answer and a real belief in their ability to reach their goals no matter what it takes. It was their arrogance, if you will, that they could actually do it and nothing would stop them. Nothing, no matter what the experts or executives said to them. And guess what, they were right about that.
What can you learn from The Beatles success? Are you laser focused on your goals and the dreams you have? What stops you from achieving them right now? What is the song that you are singing? Will you ever make it to the “top of the pops”?
Related Post: Hidden Money Messages in 12 Popular Beatles Songs