To burn out or to fade away?

In a recent post Ok is not ok, I noted that Neil Young said: “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” and Kurt Cobain included that in his suicide note.

Today I was reminded of the late, great Bill Hicks. Absolutely not politically correct (so be warned if you google him), he was a genius of a comedian and thinker, who died at 32 and, over 20 years later, the memory of his work is etched into the memories of so many.

As Tom Waits described him: “Bill Hicks – blowtorch, excavator, truth sayer, and brain specialist. He will correct your vision. The other will drive on the road he built”

Others will drive on the road he built. Amen.

There are so many parallels between great artists and great leaders, one of which sits at the core of #OpenLeadership, and that is bravery.

Bravery to “risk absolutely everything for the smallest chance that something absolutely amazing could happen” (per the quote in the “ok is not ok” post).

Do you want to be someone about whom is said: “others will drive on the road [s]he built”? Are you brave enough to “think different”? Will you risk it all? (cue many entrepreneurs reading this nodding vigorously “yes, been there done that, got the t-shirt!”)

Risking it all does not mean dying young and in pain, but it does mean sacrifice for your art. A few geniuses who built roads other will drive upon who gave much for their art :

  • Mozart
  • Van Gogh
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • John Martyn
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Ayrton Senna

Some burned brightly but briefly, all sacrificed. It is part of leading.

I seek to provoke inward thought, and also would love to hear your thoughts to teach and inspire me.

For now, as we go on in our game of life, I leave you this. Life is “just choice, right now, between fear and love”. Thank you, Bill:

just a ride Bill Hicks

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