Hey, everyone, Jingle Jared here again. Today I'd like to discuss luck. Well, strategy, too. Actually, a little of both. You see, luck is nothing without strategy.
Put simply, you've got to be ready to take advantage of luck. Otherwise, it's just a fleeting phenomenon, like that lick you can't seem to duplicate or the nifty little melody you wake up with that's gone before you're able to jump out of bed and reach for the guitar.
Here's what transforms good fortune into good luck: hard work. A prime example being what went into one of my proudest accomplishments — writing and recording the ASCAP award-winning theme song for the History Channel's insanely successful Pawn Stars.
Did the network approach and ask if I'd be interested in writing an award-winning theme for the biggest hit on cable? Of course not. At Jingle Punks, the music licensing company I co-founded, I work on 50 to 100 new shows each year. No one knows what will succeed. But odds are, the more you work, the greater the chance of a breakthrough success.
"Yeah, yeah," you're saying, "But you still got paid." I did — eventually. But when I accepted the gig, I didn't know that.
The initial offer I was given? Nothing. "If the show is picked up," I was told, "We can discuss a fee." So why'd I do it? Call it a hunch. You never know which one job in a hundred will be THE breakthrough. I did the track in 15 minutes, then handed in the assignment. I didn't overthink the outcome, I just got a vibe and went with it. Luck, I learned, is saying yes when your gut tells you to … even if the numbers don't always add up. That day, my gut told me to say yes … and it led to the No. 1 show on cable. I was lucky … and eager.
It's all about the work ethic. LIke I said, I work on tons of projects each year. Sure, the Pawn Stars gig might have never paid, but in the sea of output I'm involved with, what was one more track? I was on my game.
Earlier I noted that I finished the track in 15 minutes. An exaggeration, sure, but only a slight one. How was I able to so easily conceive a vision, latch onto a vibe and create? Call it a variation on the famed 10,000 hours theory. After countless hours of custom composition, my musical gears were properly greased. I was in the zone. The Pawn Stars theme came rather easily — thanks to all of the hours of work that came before. I was lucky … and ready.
Luck finds the hungry. My Pawn Stars success was in many ways a lottery win — but I wouldn't have won if I hadn't played. In the words of Nassim N. Taleb, the author of Black Swan and Fooled By Randomness and one of my favorite writers, opportunity favors the prepared.
To paraphrase for our purposes: Practice every day to be the guitar player you want to be. Don't overthink. Just do it. Have a goal. And when the opportunity comes along to further your goal, well, you'll be ready.
Until next time ...
Jared Gutstadt (b. 1977), is an American music entrepreneur and CEO of Jingle Punks Music. Jingle Punks Music has been featured in Billboard, Wired and Variety and was named "one of America's most promising start-ups" by Business Week. His band, the Hipster Orchestra, performs fresh and modern orchestral versions of alternative and indie classics. You can find out more about the Hipster Orchestra online and at iTunes or Amazon: Hipster Dinner Party Vol. 1 ... Nirvana Sessions.