Being part of a successful band is never easy. Just ask Joe Walsh, author and the lead guitarist for the Eagles. Walsh was a band member when the Eagles reached historical acclaim, producing record after record and releasing the sixth-most successful album of all time. But as the Eagles successfully grew, so did their in-house problems. Looking back on that time, Joe Walsh said and wrote:
“You know, there’s a philosopher who says, As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation or that situation, and then, this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like what in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. But at the time, it doesn’t.”
It’s unclear which philosopher Walsh was denoting or if his words are a direct quote, but there’s an insightful hypothesis here for us all. We have all fought, been snubbed, navigated through tough times, and lived through unbearable work conditions with little to no end in sight. We often would dream for this overwhelmingly dreadful experience to end. A few years later, when looking back, we feel the anguish, the adversities, and the time’s instability served us well. The story was arduous, problematic, and challenging to live through without knowing the ending. But once we saw the end, we became resilient and better off from the experience.
We are not living a life extracted from an exceptionally crafted novel. Our story has insecurity, unforeseen highs and copious amounts of lows. But we must have faith we can control our ending with determination, unyielding passion and an unwillingness to allow a bump in the road to turn into our stumbling block.
One of the greatest novelists, John Irving, always writes the last line of his book before he begins.
“I have every detail clear in my mind before I sit down to the typewriter. I believe… that’s the best way to write a book — then your characters can’t get away from you and misbehave, and do things you didn’t intend them to do in the beginning.” — John Irving
Irving knows the ending, then tells the story. We may be wise to duplicate that approach. It will allow us not to overemphasize the hardships and chaos that occur.
Know that we each have a finely-crafted ending that we, ourselves, control.
Never stop believing, asking the question ‘Why?’, and being unique.
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