• Cecil Lewis Jr.

The Guitar Messiah

Updated: Jan 3

Have you ever noticed when meeting with friends or family how often the conversation moves to the topic of work? How is your job going? How is business? Are you busy at work these days?

A couple of days ago, the work topic came up among some friends as it often does, and I noted one of my friends making what has become a reoccurring announcement every time we meet, that goes something like this; “work is killing me”, “I need to get a new job”, “I’m so tired of working”, “I don’t want to go to work anymore”.

In all fairness to my friend, I think that the majority of working people in the world have uttered these words at some point in their life (including me). I think this is because at one time or another all of us might feel that work is truly killing us and we would like to have a different job or better yet, would love to not have to work anymore.

But the reality of life is (I have written about this before), is that most of us must work to be able to live. Now seems like a good time to repeat one of my life’s mottos. “ I work to live, but I will NOT live to work”. Although I call this one of my life’s mottos, it is really more of an ambition or goal. Because it is something, I must remind myself of often. Living by this motto is still very much a work in progress for me and is something I wish I would have learned about 30 years ago.

Last night as my buddy continued on his anti-work rant, it reminded me of a post I saw on Facebook a while back. One sentence in the post struck me as very profound, that I had to take a screenshot of it.

The post was from Mick’s Guitar Center. This is a guitar shop in my Bavarian town, that is primarily a guitar repair shop, in addition to selling guitars, amps and other music equipment. I first met the owner when I brought my 1992 Fender Tex–Mex Telecaster to Germany. I took Marilyn (that is the name of my guitar for obvious reasons – see below) to Mick’s because she needed some love and attention. Now Mick takes care of all of my guitars (even when I am too lazy to change my own strings).

Marilyn in the middle.

I like to refer to Mick as “the Guitar Messiah”. People come from near and far to have Mick raise their guitars from the dead. Kind of like Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Hence, “the Guitar Messiah”. Mick recently celebrated 30 years of doing business in Landshut and posted the following:

The English translation of the post is:

Today at 10:00 a.m. I been active in the Landshut music scene for 30 years. At that time, I was not yet independently under the name "Mick's Guitar Center”. It feels unreal. Thanks to everyone who made this possible and to those of you who will make it possible to continue in the future. Thank you that for the past 30 years, I have had the feeling that I don't have to go to work. Maybe I'll find some photos from back then, before the internet and digital photography.

Thank you that for the past 30 years, I have had the feeling that I don't have to go to work”. How cool is that? When I saw this post, I thought to myself; how many people can actually say that?

I think it is quite rare that someone’s job can be related to their passion. There are many athletes, musicians, actors, and artists who through years of hard work and training have turned their passions into a career.

What I am talking about is the average “Joe Schmo”….. people like you and me that get up every day of the week to go to work. (for my German readers, Joe Schmo is an American slang term, often used to refer to Joe Anybody (irgendjemand), which means no one in particular) I am sure that there are many people who at the very least have a job they enjoy or can tolerate. But their job has nothing to do with the things in life that really make them happy or is it a job that makes you feel like you are not working.

This week I posed this question to a few people. What would be a job or business you would be in or own that could possibly make you feel like you are not working? I asked for sincere answers. So, jobs like a gigolo, Rockstar, or blogger do not apply. (hmmm….. I wonder where these came from?)

On every occasion I asked this question for my research, the answer was, “I really don’t know”. To provide a real answer, one must be able to first clear our minds of the social expectations related to work and career that have been fed to us our entire life. Then one must actually determine what your passion is (trust me, many people do not have hobbies and are not really passionate about anything). Then finally and this is the real showstopper, could you actually turn your passion into a business that you could make enough money to live on.

Here is an example of what I am talking about.

  • I enjoy singing and being in a band. I keep track of the money I earn from the shows or events I play. Thus far in 2019, I have played 20 times and the money earned totals less than the price I paid for one of my guitars. Bottom-line, there are few musicians that actually make enough money to be able make their job. It is a hobby.

  • I enjoy writing. I have started several books (never finished) and have several ideas for others. The chances of me actually having the time to sit down for hours on end to write and actually producing something that someone would buy is a pretty low probability. It is a passion.

I have come to learn that often times our passions are linked to our hobbies. The literal translation of a hobby is, “a hobby is a regular activity done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time, not professionally and not for pay” -Wikipedia. The last part of this definition is key, “not for pay”.

Sure, there are some exceptions to this; like an artist who is able to sell their paintings or sculptors or a car enthusiast that restores old cars and resells them, a homebrewer selling his craft beer, or a dancer expanding their talents to pole dancing…..hmmm, you get the point. But generally having a hobby or passion that provides financial rewards at a level that you can turn into a business or make it your full-time job is not very common.

So, my answer to this question is the same, as the others I asked. I really don’t have an answer. But I am going to find one. Hence, I will add this to my bucket list (the list of things to do or accomplish before I die). Entry – Have A Job That Doesn’t Feel Like Work.

I am already developing a formula for this. Although I probably cannot have a business that is linked to my passions or hobby’s, perhaps I could start a business or work somewhere that is such a contrast to the work I have been doing for 30 years, it would just be refreshing.

Mick (the Guitar Messiah) thanks for your inspiration and your guitar superpowers. I wish you much success in the years to come.

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