What is Success?
Success is difficult to define, simply because everybody defines it differently. Some people use external measures like material possessions, or achievement in their fields, while others focus more on relationships, being the best they can be, and other internal benchmarks.
Back when I wanted to become a “successful” drummer, I consciously framed a very specific objective: to become a first-call, A-list drummer playing with a top music act in Nashville, Tennessee. That’s a pretty specific goal! And, as you may suspect, it was, and still is, a difficult one to achieve. But I did achieve it, and a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of people come to Nashville trying to do what I did. So when people asked me HOW I did it, I understood that I was in a position to help others navigate my ridiculously competitive world, and even better, that this was now a new goal I had.
CRASH!-ing Through Life
When I deconstructed HOW I became successful, I saw that I had unconsciously, but consistently, followed five different but interconnected dimensions that had helped me achieve success as I had defined it. And I was able to label these dimensions in a way that related to drummers, by creating the acronym CRASH!, because the “Crash” cymbal is one of the two large cymbals you’ll see fronting pretty much every drum set in the world.
The CRASH! Acronym stands for Commitment, Relationships, Attitude, Skills, and Hunger. And it has grown from a template to teach drummers about what it takes to make a living as a musician, into something universally applicable to almost any area of life: Business, Athletics, Love, to name just a few.
So, no matter where you are in life, or what aspect of your life you want to improve, or develop more fully, CRASH! offers a practical guide for achieving that improvement, and that success, in the way that YOU define it.
Make a commitment to your beliefs and goals, and shout that commitment from a mountaintop. Make yourself accountable to your goals, both to yourself, and to others, and stand by your words by letting the world see your beliefs though your actions.
Have the courage to “dream big.” If you’ve got the talent and the commitment to work hard, and believe you deserve success, then you have what it takes to grab your dreams by the throat and make them come true.
Everybody knows that relationships are essential to success, right? But most people don’t know how to create successful relationships. Nor do they understand the true time and effort that goes into them. When you’re trying to create relationships that will help YOU improve yourself, you risk developing a mercenary mindset: “I need to get introduced to A, because he/she can help me get B.”
There are three pieces of actionable advice I give about relationships:
1) Successful relationships are formed when YOU GIVE to THEM, not the other way around. ALWAYS think about what you can do to help the other person, not what they can do to help you, even if they seem far above you right now. Trust me, you can always find a way to help another human being.
2) Birds of a feather flock together. Surround yourself with positive people who feel and act in ways similar to you. Form lifelong, sincere, honest and mutually beneficial relationships, both online, and in person, with such people!
3) Don’t be a dick. I mean, really. Places like Nashville and L.A. are full of people who have “made it,” but who are horrible to other people. Not everyone you meet will be someone who can help your career. Regardless, treat them with respect and compassion. You really aren’t any better than them.
If you engage in your commitment and relationships as I’ve described above, you will by default develop a more constructive attitude. And, with the right attitude, it becomes easier to frame your commitment and your relationships in the ways described above!
Your attitude is the one thing people will always remember about you. People will always remember how you treated them and how you made them feel.
Even more importantly, your attitude is also about how you treat yourself. How do you encourage yourself, how do you speak to yourself inside your own head? What permission do you give yourself to try certain things, or set limits to prevent you from doing so?
Each day we have a new opportunity to sharpen our skills. These skills can be physical, mental, or business related. Raw talent can be found anywhere, but it’s the people that take the time to develop their talents, and use them to help make a difference, who become the real champions and rock stars. I spent countless hours developing my drumming skills. There was simply no substitute for the long, hard time this skill development took.
The Skill dimension is also where you can ground yourself. If you are only a casual drummer in your Saturday night rock band, you aren’t going to come to Nashville and get folks to pay attention. If, on the other hand, you drum your socks off for 5 hours a day, you might get your shot.
You should always have a hunger that burns inside, to connect you firmly to your dreams and goals, and to help you share them with the world.
Your hunger is not only a fire, but also an emptiness, which drives a desire for more than what you have now. Hunger is crucial, not only to igniting the other dimensions, but for fuelling them along your journey. Be careful, because your hunger, once satisfied, can lead to complacency. That is why, now I’ve achieved the goal I shared earlier, that I am now “hungry” for newer worlds to conquer.
And it’s because of CRASH! that I’ll make those dreams come true as well.
Rich Redmond has worked with numerous “A-list” musical artists, and is currently the drummer for Jason Aldean. He provides edutainment seminars to musical and business audiences, where he presents the “CRASH!” system in an unforgettable live format. His upcoming book, “A CRASH course For Success” is currently in publication, and expected in 2017.