Career Advice From A Financial Wizard

“To be great you need to be odd.”

That’s a quote from the latest Motley Fool book “Million Dollar Portfolio”.  It has to do with the idea that as an investor you need to go against the grain on public sentiment when buying and selling stocks.  The herd mentality never leads to profit.

What the heck does that have to do with performing Phil?  Well, I’ll tell ya…

I believe that doing what everyone else does, as a performer, can only get you so far.  Yes, there are guidelines of stuff that works that can be implemented.  But beyond the basics, an artist needs to find their own way of doing things.

A comedian needs to know how a setup-punch-act out-mix works.  But then they need to implement that structure in their own style.  Musicians need to know how music works to be able to write a song.

But then you have to be different.  And the more different the better.  It’s a tough road to hoe, but you’ll be better off in the long run.  Picture 4 British kids who previously made their money covering Motown songs.  Then they start to push the boundaries of what can be done with a 4 track recorder.  They tell stories that haven’t been told in songs.  They make sounds that nobody else has.  Voila!  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Alice Cooper always said that he designed his bands persona around one idea.  There were plenty of rock n’ roll heroes, but no villains.  And they would be that villain.  Very successfully, I might add.

A man in the 1920’s decided he was going to make a full length animated feature film.  Everyone told him he was crazy.  You can’t hold an audiences attention with such a childish art form.  Walt Disney proved the wrong with 1928’s release of Snow White.

Since then, there have been thousands of bands that sound like the Beatles.  Tons of metal bands that don scary makeup and sing scary songs.  Thousands of animated fairy tales on the big screen.  But these are the ones we remember.  Because they were first.  They were different.  They were odd.

When you stick out like a sore thumb, people will tell you that you can’t be THAT different if you want to be successful.  I would say, you NEED to be that different if you want to be successful.

Stick out.  Be different.  Be great.
Phil Johnson

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