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Blue Collar's Little Victories
By Mick Polich - 09/10/2008 - 09:20 AM EDT

Little victories….

Praise and bless ‘em when they come through, and don’t worry if they never come on time.

Yep, easier said than done, my literary friends – how many of us wouldn’t want to be farther ahead in our dreams? Or just at a different intersection, crossroads? We humans have the amazing capacity to dream, and dream big. Monticello. The Great Wall. Mesaphatoma. Cities, buildings, societies – on every scale, erecting to unprecedented heights, some lasting centuries……..

What about the everyday dreams of the Everyman or woman? Thru the self-help market, we’re taught to achieve and receive – some of this involves God or the spiritual deity of your choosing, while some literature tells us to make our own selves gods to achieve this (try Nietzsche).

For me, everything that I’ve accomplished to date in the music world is part of the jigsaw puzzle – in younger days, certain gigs were the ones to have, and others I played didn’t seem to matter much because they didn’t have the spot light on them. I remember them all now, and put them in equal rank and file –seemingly, playing a backyard party and having a wonderful time when all things are in sync musically, and people are appreciating what you’re laying down –well, that works, doesn’t it? Better thank whomever or whatever you be thankin’ for just a shot at playing…..

Again, little victories…..

Elvis Presley said,” Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine”. This is apt, and that concept can apply to the smallest of details in life, the smallest of possibilities that can happen. For musicians, it could be getting over the hump learning a new piece of music (or reading music better), or playing a piece of music that you’ve only dreamed of playing, in whatever fashion that you can make it happen. Yep, little victories…

Sometimes, I think we bypass those ‘little victories’ because we’re looking at the big rainbow on the hill, the Nirvana to which all our problems will be solved. You know, a lot of people reach that rainbow – depends, though, if it’s a big one or a small one. What’s in between you and that big goal? Anything? Is it clearly in reach? Some people just know. I have no doubt in my mind that Michael Phelps knew he was the baddest dude out there in men’s swimming when he took all that gold at the Beijing Olympics – he’s known for along time. But, can we have that same sort of sureness, assertiveness, and confidence when it comes to little goals, and victories?

I say ‘yes ‘ – and don’t let anybody put the bamboozle on ya. The key is pure confidence, not false confidence or a hallow self-esteem. That happens way too much, especially when folks are trying to impress just to impress – yep, been there when I was younger; believe you me, I feel better about the whole process since I’ve gotten older.

I know this sounds downright weird to some folks, and even in the Why-Bother Category, but if I play to a crowd of four people at Starbucks, and have a chance to launch some cover tunes with some vocals I haven’t tried before, or play some of my originals – hey, if I get applause, maybe a CD sale, or they take home a business card with their mocha grande, then it’s a little victory!  For me, little steps towards little victories make all the difference….

For some, that philosophy is too small in scope – reaching for the stars and failing, well, that’s good (making it to the stars is BETTER). The small stuff is small potatoes. Well, so be it – it’s not my job to make anybody understand except myself – any other rail riders who want to come on board, then hop on.  

Playing a piece of music deemed impossible a few months ago, selling your first CD, getting through to a music student to importance of a lesson, singing songs in front of a coffeehouse or bar audience that you thought would never happen, getting your own web site or My Space posting for music presentation – all valid and good reasons to chalk up a win for your side.

Of course, having a web page, My Space address, blog site, or YouTube video is as common as having a business card and flyers up to ten years ago, but not everyone has drunk the Kool-Aid on that stuff (but, well you should at some point – just to get in the pool with one item, and start swimming around a bit…).

As it is written, change is constant – yes, we could whine about this and this not being like the ‘old days’, but that’s over and done with. I think this is where a lot of people get overwhelmed – “How can I possibly catch up with all that is going on around me?” Just take a step, doesn’t have to be a big one. If you falter, no big deal, just get up and try it again. If you win, its’ a ‘little victory’!

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