Stay in school.
I know, I know, David Geffen dropped out, as did Irving Azoff. Some of the biggest legends of the entertainment business never finished college, some didn’t even complete high school. But that was then, and this is now.
The sixties were different. We lived in an homogeneous society. Social mobility was rampant. You could go from middle class to upper class quite easily. Rich was within your grasp.
But no longer.
Which is what the best and the brightest of today’s society knows. Which is why all the Ivy Leaguers go into finance and the great unwashed star in reality television programs. Where is Pauly D today? Snooki? Famous for a few years, they’ve already slid back into obscurity, the trade on their fame has lost most of its zeros. We know their names, but they’re footnotes, trivia questions, if you think they’re rich, you don’t know what rich is.
On Monday, the “New York Times” featured a story wherein female students at Andover were upset there was little place for them in the official student hierarchy, i.e. they could not be elected president.
Do you know what Phillips Academy in Andover is?
Do you know Exeter?
I didn’t until I went to college. Where in freshman English, a student pronounced “Celtic” like it began with a “K,” so it sounded like “kick” and not “sell.” What an ignoramus! Hadn’t he heard of the great Boston basketball team?
No, I was the ignoramus. I didn’t go to prep school like this bloke. For he was much better read, all the prep school students were, he knew more than me, I’d gone to public school in the melting pot suburbs, I was clueless.
But I learned.
I fell into this exposure. Via hard work in high school and good SAT scores. At Middlebury I came into contact with the scions of the truly rich and famous, Eileen Rockefeller, Dodd Cosgrove, whose dad ran Jolly Green Giant. I learned how to interact with these people. To never boast of my experiences, because there was always someone whose exploits trumped mine. My parents had been to Europe? They’d gone to Paris for the weekend! I learned that I’d been playing in the minor leagues and didn’t even know it.
I fell into this world by accident. I went to Middlebury College because it had great academics and its own ski area. If I had to do it all over again, if I couldn’t ski, I would go to an Ivy. Because that’s where the networking takes place.
Sure, you learn a lot at Harvard, Yale and Princeton. But even more, you’re inducted into the brotherhood/sisterhood. You’re a member of a club that looks out for each other, gives each other advantages, that pays dividends for your entire life. It’s the best way to get a leg up other than to be born rich to begin with.
The movies feature juvenile delinquents. Happy slackers. But living on the underside is worse than ever, you can’t make it here anymore. You need a leg up.
I’m telling you, because no one other than hopefully your parents is.
You’re gonna make it on your raw smarts. But why not help yourself out?
I abhorred the concept of prep school way back when, you wanted to live with your parents during high school. But if I had children today, I’d send them away. Not to get them out of my hair, but because I’d want them to get a good start.
Many people know this.
But not enough.
We’ve got a schism in society. The clued-in and the clueless. And you don’t want to be one of the latter. For all the hogwash about the entitled millennials, you’ll find there’s a huge subset who know the score, that it’s every man for himself, and you’ve got to get yourself every advantage in order to get ahead. If you’re skipping school and not bothering to apply yourself, the joke is on you.
Once upon a time, music was a viable career for the best and the brightest. But no longer. Because the best and the brightest don’t only realize the odds of success are low, but that all the money goes to the business people, and no matter how successful you are, you’re not in the league of the bankers, of the truly rich. Art has power, but in an era where everybody thinks it’s a badge of honor to sell out, money has power. Think about that. By looking to the Fortune 500, by making yourself subservient to the corporation, you’re sacrificing all your power. If you truly want to be an artist, you must go it alone, follow your own muse, put money in a secondary position, play for all the marbles. Instead, we’ve got a bunch of uneducated whiners wondering where to line up for the handouts. But the U.S. government doesn’t subsidize recording artists, that’s Canada, move there if you want free money.
I know, I know, I sound like my parents.
Then again, they had immigrant mothers and fathers, whose biggest challenge was speaking the language. All they knew was they wanted their children to have a better life than their own.
I’m not sure that’s happened. My dad worked ’round the clock. In an era where such effort could make you upper middle class without winning the lottery or playing the market, which my father refused to do.
But my dad put three kids through college and graduate school. Because he knew first and foremost it was about a good foundation.
If you think Bieber is forever, than you probably think, like he does, the Pope prays in the Sixteenth Chapel. I grew up wanting to be Jay North, Jerry Mathers, to be on TV was my goal. Thank god I never went that route. Most of those people are famous for a minute and then go on to do drugs and rob 7-11’s, they’re prepared for nothing.
And I’m not saying you can’t beat the system doing none of the above.
I’m just saying the odds are damn low.
Some people are Steve Jobs, some people are geniuses.
But Larry and Sergey went to Stanford.
And although Mark Zuckerberg dropped out, the institution he was attending was Harvard.
And most of the stories about people you see in the mainstream press were placed there by publicity agents. They have no underpinnings.
It’s your goal to gain underpinnings and worldliness. To both practice hard and leave your comfortable environment. You’d be stunned to find out how ignorant you truly are.
And one final tip. Reading is the key to success. If you don’t know how to read, you’re never going to make it in today’s world. Just like baby boomers who don’t know how to type are behind the curve.
It’s all about fundamentals I tell you.
And fundamentals, like the multiplication table, are rarely fun.
But there’s always time for fun.
Life is long. If you’re not prepared for delayed gratification, you’re going to have a very rough ride.
Help yourself out.
Stop being sour grapes, stop complaining and APPLY YOURSELF!