Tortoise vs the Hare, Climb vs the Mountain

It took me a long time to realize the obvious: Bands and artists don’t burst onto the scene, even if it appears like they do.

A teacher doesn’t become a principal–let alone the superintendent of a school–in one year. Even five years. Rarely ten.

Yet most people believe a band can go from unknown to famous with one song, one video, one tour, one radio campaign, one moment. That’s a false fable. It takes years of work–and many failures–before an act breaks out.

Here’s another false fable:

An independent band or artist might feel like they are the tortoise in a race against the hare (the band with a major label or famous relative or rich parents). However, that’s the wrong analogy; art isn’t a race.

We are more like Sisyphus, climbing mountains of different sizes, carrying rocks of unique shapes.

There is only one race in life that really matters, and we don’t control that finish line. Instead, we can decide to climb; and the story of our climb matters more than the size of the mountain.

–Originally published at

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