Be a rockstar

I am a lawyer. I help people start companies and do deals. I try to be really good at this. In fact, I try to be a big effing rockstar.

Like they say, “Go big, or go home.”

Life is way too short not to supersize it.

My clients and friends know this. They’re all rockstars, too. And that ain’t easy.

We humans are stuck with some evolutionary baggage. We come from schools of fish and herds of animals for whom sameness is a survival skill and standing out from the crowd gets you eaten. So we have evolved a pleasure response to our own conformity. Fitting in to our peer group evokes a sense of comfort. Somewhere deep within our brains lies machinery that makes us really dig being part of the flock.

Choosing to be a rockstar requires unflocking. You need to overcome the visceral desire to just sit down, shut up, and accept the status quo like everyone else. You need to get up, stand up, scream and shout.

Be prepared for some criticism. Evolutionary disdain for radical behavior works outwardly too; we instinctively fear and loathe the behavior of our peers when it runs too far afield of the norm. And we have no qualms about letting them know it. This kinship-based weirdness suppressor is an evolutionary backup to keep us in line if we can’t self regulate as individuals. When people have too many different ideas, we think they’re crazy and we tell them so. Witness the very epithet “mad scientist.” Heck, witness how any group of teens treats a nonconforming peer. When Fulton proposed the steamboat, they called it Fulton’s Folly and they said it would never work. After all, why put a steam engine on boats when we’ve got reliable, centuries-old sails and oars? I have no doubt that when the first caveman tried rubbing two sticks together in an effort to make fire, the rest of us stood around making fun of him and suggesting he was the Devil. We have trouble conceiving of our own place in a world that is populated by too many crazy rockstars. Just ask the 19th century oarsmen that Fulton’s incredibly useful steam engine put out of work.

To become a rockstar, you’ve got to get used to haters and cultivate a certain pleasure in flipping them off. You’ve got to get yourself spending time around people who appreciate weirdness and smartness and boldness, who value your ideas because they are crazy and new. You’ve got to remember that pretty much everyone who ever said it couldn’t be done, about anything, was wrong.

Step 1 to becoming a rockstar is overcoming fear. It’s also step 2-10. So that means fishbrain avoidance from here on out, right?

You want to be a rockstar, but you’ve got this paleocortex in the back of your head insistently pumping out the signal that you are a fearful little ball of nerves just desperately trying to avoid getting eaten (because your paleocortex knows that you are crunchy and good with soy sauce) and pressuring you to stay inside the comfort of home and avoid the whole hornet’s nest.

Not much of a rockstar, your paleocortex. Best to move north.

‘Cause you’re also gifted with these highly organized electrochemical potentials in your cerebral cortex, the very newest part of your brain, which paves the way for all sorts of useful skills, such as choice. Such as choosing whether to supersize it.

You control the horizontal; you control the vertical. Let yourself become the star you are, star. Choose to be a rockstar.

Always go for the longshot, kids. Always go for the Hail Mary. If you miss it, that’ll suck, but everyone will forgive you because hey, it was a longshot.

But if you make it, well man you’re a freakin rockstar.

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