I recently listened to an interview on NPR, with author Mark Maron, who recently released the new book, “Attempting Normal”.  He also hosts a show on IFC called WTF. I only caught the tail end but he talked about his crash and burn – his attempt at success in his younger years, his major fail (teamed with a divorce), and his response to his circumstance. The interview was excellent and worth writing about. Here are his paraphrased key points.

When things don’t go the way you want them to in life, you have 2 options:

BE BITTER

Sulk in self pity because your life and music career aren’t going the way you want it to go. Allow that self-pity to turn into resentment and eventually become one of those people who hates the world and the people in it. Start to say stuff like, “Nobody understands me!” or “They just don’t get it!” or “People just don’t appreciate good music”. Your resentment will most likely turn into a twisted form of entitlement where you feel like you are owed things simply because you (and only you) think you are worthy of them. You haven’t yet realized – nobody owes you anything.  Read “You’re Talented. How Come You’re Still Broke?

BE BETTER

You fully recognize that Plan A fell apart. And while you may have let it discourage you for a minute, you don’t allow it to determine the course of the rest of your life and musical career. You create and begin to follow a plan B that is strong and more informed due to what you have learned from your past attempt. You approach problems confidently but humbly realizing that you are not the most important person on the face of the earth and that maybe….just maybe you and your music are not the most important things on the face of the earth. Your self awareness and awareness of others allows you to see the world and its opportunities in a new light. The way you communicate and relate with others is no longer naive and self-absorbed but respectful.  You spend more time focused on your goal and less time focused on what other people are doing and why you haven’t caught up with them. When you are doing something that is not leading you toward your goal, you come to your senses, leave it behind and refocus yourself on getting closer to said goal. You are focused. You are bold.

Moran said it took him 15 years to get from “Bitter” to ‘Better”.

note: You should also read “What Do I Know? I’m Just a Bitter Musician.