Have you ever thought what it would have been like to be Duran Duran in 1982? 1984? What would life have been like to be so popular that there was mass hysteria from fans wherever you went? What was it like to have press and the media following you around all of the time? What about a schedule that just didn’t stop? From what I have heard/read, they didn’t get a lot of sleep and certainly didn’t get many days off.
When I was younger, the idea of having an intense life like that appealed to me. I remember thinking in college about how I would do better and be more successful if I found that one thing to focus on. After all, I grew up reading about how passionate Duran Duran was about their career and how that translated to success. My goodness, who hasn’t heard the story about how John and Nick mapped it out in that they would be playing Hammersmith by 1982, Wembly by 1983 and Madison Square Garden by 1984. I looked up to this goal-setting, this focus, and certainly the work ethic I saw. Internalizing that, I believed that this is how success is made.
Then, of course, as the years have gone on, I don’t see quite the same level of intensity. The band does not work seven days a week for 52 weeks a year. No, they take more breaks than they did in 1982 or 1984. I know that this bothers some fans. Heck, it has bothered me before. I remember the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods in which I wrote countless blogs about how the band needs to hurry up, get to work and get some new music out there. I wasn’t saying that to be a jerk. No, it came from my love for the band. I figured two things. One, if they hurried up, they would have a better chance to capitalize on the momentum they had created with AYNIN. Two, that extreme work ethic proved successful in the past so why wouldn’t it now? Whenever blog posts like that were written, there would always be push-back as people didn’t see the urgency that I felt at the time. Interestingly enough, when people disagreed with me, the reasoning had to do, most of the time, with the idea that you cannot rush art. They need time to create. Very few people commented about how they deserve to *not* have to work all the flipping time.
I admit that I never really considered that side of the argument then. I struggled to see the big picture because I was so emotionally invested. My desire to continue the wave we were on with AYNIN shut out other considerations. Now, though, I see things differently.
As most of you know, ’tis the season for going back to school. In Madison, the kids return the day after Labor Day. Typically, this would mean that this week and next would be spent getting one’s classroom ready, including setting up, planning lessons, etc. This year, though, I have been at work every single day for the past two weeks. Is my classroom ready? No. What about my lessons? Ha. That’s funny. Nope. No way. Instead of all that, I have been busy working on a number of committees. One is to plan special sessions for our incoming 9th graders on their first day. That will be completely over soon. Another one is to implement a new plan, policy and procedure for students late to class. The bulk of the work for that is almost done. The last few are ongoing committees that will meet periodically. While I’m proud of the work that has been done, it has been rather intense or extreme.
The meetings have been mentally exhausting leaving me with little energy or brain power to get anything else done. Then, I have had plans in the evening all week. Many of those are fun but added to my current workload leaves me with little down time and precious few minutes to do anything else that I want or need to do. In the past, I have accepted some of this as the normal path to success. After all, Duran Duran lived and breathed their work for years and it equaled big time success. Heck, I have even been known to seek out more vigorous work with campaigns. Right now, though, I see and feel things differently. I would love a little less extreme. There should be time to do what must be done for work without giving up time to work on our research project or time to get my household chores done.
I have no doubt that the amazing work ethic and extreme focus helped Duran Duran in the early 1980s. I don’t question how it has also led me into success at my jobs. Now, though, I long for a happy medium, a nice balance. I cannot criticize how Duran Duran worked on Paper Gods or the current project as I feel like I get it in a different way now. Intensity is not always the way to go. On that note, I’m off to work for another meeting. I kid you not.