I came across this short interview clip with the rock & roll marketing guru, Gene Simmons, from KISS. Mr. Simmons is outspoken (nothing new there) and has said many things over the years I would disagree with, but that’s OK. He is an Israeli immigrant to this country who grew up in the fifties and sixties. I’m an American born cradle-Catholic and part of the original MTV generation. He’s lived in the spotlight for most of my life. It’s safe to say we probably see the world very differently.
We also have a few things in common though, and that’s why the news clip caught my eye.
As a member of the KISS Army, his band has provided me with much of my life’s soundtrack. He and I also share passions for marketing, and for dreaming big, so I listen up when he speaks about those topics. He can teach people, from all walks of life, a thing or two about sustain – with both his guitar and his brand!
Imbedded in this clip are a few golden nuggets that anyone in this country with a dream should treasure:
- “It’s your fault if you don’t succeed. You cannot fail in America.” Mr. Simmons tells the story of coming to America and learning whatever he wanted – for FREE – at the public library. They don’t call America the ‘Land of Opportunity’ for nothing.
- “Figure out what your ‘headline’ is, right away. Say it as succinctly as possible.” Get to the point and don’t make people guess. Who are you? What do you do? And what do you want? Anticipate these questions. Know your answers so they flow quickly and eloquently, and you’ll have people’s attention.
- “What [matters] most is implementation, the ability to do something.” Execution of an idea is far more important than the idea itself. Ideas are a catalyst and meant to be acted on. Look at them as fuel. As a fledgling writer with little resources beyond my ideas, I know ideas can fuel your tank like nothing else – especially when there is nothing else.
- “There is only forward. Life should be like space, endless…do good for other people and give back!” I extracted what I believe to be the key take-away (for me at least) from the interview’s conclusion. To get to it, I had to to wade through some classic Simmons ‘life-is-good-because-I-make-lots-of-money’ bravado. After that, what I hear is: The more success you can obtain, the more good you can do for others and the more positive change you can create.
I would add that to make your success story really special, do good all along the way. In the end we will be remembered for what we gave and did for others, not what we grabbed for ourselves. So what are we waiting for?
Have a dream? Check. Blessed to live in America? Check. Off we go!
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