Truth, Grit, & the American Dream

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Forget about the cheers and acknowledgements for a moment. They’ll only serve to water down your ability to connect, and then you’ll be merely an echo amongst mountains.

I recently stumbled upon a fantastic film, Searching for Sugar Man. It’s a documentary about a talented and mysterious musician named Rodriguez. He was discovered in the late 60s and early 70s, was given his shot to become a star, but never quite made it or so everyone thought. The film speaks of the power of committing to your purpose and rising above the mundane even if your efforts receive little to no praise. You never know whom you touch when you make the effort to reach out in uncompromising fashion.

Here’s a quick clip from the film.

In America, we judge success by popularity, money, and acceptance. We look for the quick fix and wait to be picked. All the while, our ability to share completely is compromised.

What if you made your own art on your own terms? Maybe not all of the time at first, but you kept the flame burning and you weren’t afraid of failure. It’s here that marketing and self intersect and offer up incredible potential. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but in a way that will make a difference in ways you may not have ever imagined.

According to all things rationale, Rodriguez failed in his attempt to share his message. Years later, it was discovered that he touched millions of lives. And yet, that outcome makes little difference to him. Rodriguez did not write and perform for admiration and adulation.

Find your true poet. Avoid obsessing over the outcome and stay in the moment. Commit to a process that is not easily swayed by the wind. From there, your message will touch lives. And when there are no cheers coming your way, know that your success may take shape in unexpected ways at an unexpected time.

Just don’t wait for it, live it.

* Download the printable version here



  1. Kelly Crim Shrumm  February 6, 2013

    I just watched this movie a few weeks ago! I heartily echo your strong recommendation to watch it. Thank you for your article today — it warmed, encouraged and challenged me. I’ll stand a little taller today.

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