Elton 75


I wanna be a rock star like Elton John!


This is what the insistent voice in my head whispered over and over to me when I was 16.

I listened to John’s Yellow Brick Road album like it held my very own magic pathway to riches and fame. Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies, beyond the Yellow Brick Roooooad….

Crazy! Of course I had NO idea what this meant in real life day-in and day-out terms. NADA!

Even today, I don’t truly know what it would have meant. And just imagine all that nose candy.

But even still, Elton was an inspiration to me.

Are you an aficionado aka sucker of motivational and inspirational music, books, memes, and talks?

If so, you’ve landed at the right place today…

And full disclosure here:  I AM the biggest “sucker” out there for this kinda stuff.

I constantly play Inspector Clouseau, seeking out the motivating tools (those that make some sense) that make me jump up and down inside like a puppy at your front door when you come home from a tiring day at the office. Woof!

It’s probably why I’m so goal-oriented, reaching towards the stars with the assistance of talented, spirited others.

I spent a pretty significant portion of my younger days pondering my so-called “achievement and success”. You too? Good, I’m not alone.

Over the years I’ve leaned heavily on real-life successful motivators (like them or not in today’s world) such as Lance Armstrong, Melinda and Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elton John, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Wayne Gretzky, Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, Carole King, Harry Chapin. The list trundles on and on.

But the reason I’m even thinking about what I’m thinking about this week is because of a single word I read in a small motivational book by a young fella, Austin Kleon, titled, KEEP GOING.

keep going book


Kleon brought me this clever word that makes so much sense…. in talking about success, he insets the letter K, spelling the word SUCKCESS.

Of course, success can mean a million different things physical, material, and spiritual – you have your own unique definition of the word –  but for many here, at least in North America…

Success= Riches and Fame


It begins day one in kindergarten when the teacher stands towering before you like God and asks what you want to be as a big person, the real underlying question being:

How will you become rich and/or famous?


WAIT… what’s this? Mommy said I was coming here to play games with other kids…

So what’s “suckcess”?

Kleon describes it as:

Suckcess is success on somebody else’s terms, or undeserved success, when something that sucks becomes successful, or when success starts to suck.”


The question we might be best asking ourselves? Is the success I’m looking and hoping for an exhilarating airplane journey or a suffocating cage?

It’s a simple question with a difficult and life-changing answer… if you follow the correct trail.

Does the endorphin rush I’m looking for come from what I truly love to do – an internal drive – or is it the push from someone else’s voice or wish for me?

My Dad wanted me to become a doctor one day. He would glow when he mentioned to the neighbours that his son was thinking about medical school. The reflected prestige was intoxicating. I get it.

My father would have been exhilarated, but I would have been crushed in a vice of someone else’s choosing.

Lucky for me, I was uncharacteristically self-aware enough to know that while I was interested in the notion, I wasn’t willing to make the lifetime of sacrifices needed to make that success goal possible.

Nope! That would have spelled SUCKCESS for me.


bad success

I’ve been writing this weekly blog journal as the Man On The Fringe for more than 8 years now. WOW!

Now if my definition of success was to gather a million or more weekly readers, or to amass Jeff Besos-sized sums of money from my writing… well, I botched it totally on those measures of success.

Here’s a little insider secret. Each day, my blog readership generally lands in the range of about 40-60 views.  Some days a little higher, some a little lower. That isn’t remotely successful by almost any blog writer’s dream of success. And money? Don’t interrupt my laughter please…

And yet.

This blog is a big success in my own little mind because it allows me the gift of spending a few focussed hours every week thinking and sifting and measuring the ideas and thoughts that are important to me.

It’s a morsel of mind discipline the way you might derive yours from regular yoga practice, or the New York Times Crossword, or Sudoku, or catching flies with chopsticks (thank you Mr. Miyagi)

Every week, I find myself in my writing. I come across surprises constantly. So, to my thinking… YES, Virginia, this is SUCCESS.

Returning to my teenage roots and becoming a musical success through fame and fortune… well… that was never realized, at least not in the way I was thinking at the time.

The consistently successful musical artists out there pay a huge personal price on a daily basis. Loss of anonymity, constant pressure to promote, multiple hours of performance multiple nights each week. Do I really want to play Hey Jude or Fire and Rain 300,000 times in my life?

Any “success” I found in fame and fortune in the world of music would have been realized at a cost I was not willing to happily pay.

Money… fame… misery… honestly, it does sound kind of appealing (not the misery part), but… The end result? For me? SUCKCESS.

I choose to write this blog on my terms (although I thank you for reading too!). I choose to write songs that have meaning to me (and I thank you again if you choose to listen and find some meaning in my tunes for yourself).

My version of success has no “k” in the middle…

My Yellow Brick Road to success doesn’t mean I have to fly far away to Kansas on a whirlwind.