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Embrace the Punk Rock Work Ethic.

Updated: Mar 26

Here's a thought on the topic of momentum: A manageable definition of "success" does not focus on scoring goals, let alone winning the game; it focuses on keeping the ball in play until the timer runs down.


Old-school, straight edge punk rockers are notorious for embracing this attitude of keeping the ball in play. In those circles, you often hear the acronyms DIY and PMA: "Do it yourself" while keeping a "positive mental attitude."


Don't have a guitar? Borrow a friend's guitar.


It only has three strings? Play on three strings.


Don't have a venue? Play in a parking lot.


Can't afford to cut an album in a studio? Record it live, on a one-track cassette deck, in your living room — in a house you share with ten other obsessed "losers."


Not sure if you'll ever "make it?" Screw you. 


If you're doing this so you can "make it," you're a poser anyhow. The only legitimate reason to do this is so you can continue doing this. Punk is not a means to an end; it is the end. Does it hurt too much? Then quit. Nobody cares. Do you care? How much? Then prove it.



"Success" as most people understand it, is far from guaranteed, and a great deal of it is determined by circumstances beyond your control — but if success means "keeping the ball in play, come what may," then you're successful the moment you start the ball rolling, all the way until you stop.


This becomes obvious when you consider the case of a punk rocker (say, Henry Rollins) who had a hit album or two once upon a time, but has not seen his musical endeavors rewarded at that level ever since. If he had stopped making records — or doing anything else — just because he is no longer a top-seller, would you still be able to call him "successful" in the year 2019, just by dint of his "has been" status?


Of course not — and the same goes for "will be" status. You cannot base your definition of success upon your future hopes any more than you can base it upon your past accomplishments.


The past is useless, and hope is a sedative. We are successful only to the extent that we keep on keeping on with an almost casual indifference to whether or not the world rewards us.


People who stoically apply themselves to worthy ideals are 100% more likely to "score goals" and "win games" than those who don't — but those kinds of achievements are really just passive byproducts of success.


Therefore, momentum does not lead to success; momentum IS success. Get to work.


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