September 19, 2012
Tragedy struck when Johnny was 17 and his mother was killed in a car accident. Once again he turned to his guitar for comfort. One day on the bus ride to school he heard that another kid lost his mother to cancer. That kid was James and he was only 15. Johnny felt bad and sat next to him on the bus. They shared a similar interest in guitars and the two of them started playing chords and making up lyrics.
They had an idea to form a band but they needed one more person. James recommended his friend George, but George was only 14 and Johnny thought he was too young. They couldn’t find anyone else so George was in. They called themselves Johnny and the Moondogs. They weren’t that good, but they loved to play, and they practiced a lot more than they did their homework.
The three guys played cover songs at school events, church outings, and in a little coffee shop owned by the mother of their friend Pete. Pete played the drums and when he joined the band they changed their name to The Quarrymen in honor of the local Quarry where none of the boys wanted to work. They made a pact to keep practicing so they could eventually get paid to play music. No one hired them because they were just kids, but Pete’s mom, in an effort to keep her son off the street, allowed them to keep playing at her coffee shop.
A few years later they were hired to play at a nightclub. Even though the money wasn’t that much, Johnny believed it was a sign of positive things to come. They asked their friend Stu to come along and now the band had five members. The good times didn’t last that long because George was arrested and sent home for being under age…he was only 17 at the time and it was illegal for him to perform in a nightclub. The guys went home too and continued to practice clinging to the thought that their day would come.
Johnny and James wrote a song and a local radio station agreed to play it. The song was pretty catchy and the guys got an appointment with a record label, but the label turned them down saying they didn’t like their music, and noting that guitar music was on the way out. However, that song kept getting played and it wasn’t long before “Love Me Do” was a smash hit. After a few more adjustments to the band, their lives were about to change. Stu decided he would rather pursue being an artist and Pete was replaced. The final four included John Lennon, James Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr and with one more name change, they became forever known as The Beatles. Within four years Beatlemania swept the world and in addition to living their dreams, the friends all became millionaires.
It’s estimated that the Beatles practiced for over 10,000 hours before they became famous. That’s the equivalent of working 40 hours per week for 5 years. Not many people are willing to work that hard to achieve their dreams. Most of us want our lives to change without the effort and persistence that is required. As journalist Sydney Harris put it, “Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
The process that transforms a band into the Beatles is the same process that transforms your passions into your dreams. When you do what you love and you maintain a burning desire to succeed, it rarely feels like work. 10,000 hours becomes a journey of joy and it often leads to what others call an overnight success.
Until next week…
Live Your Dreams