Just, Do You.

This post is about how important it is to measure your success on a metric that you can control. Do not use any external factors to measure your success because you could end up being extremely successful and yet miserable in every other part of your life. In the 80’s there was a fledgling rock band who fired their lead guitarist over personality clashes with the other members. The fired guitarist swore that he would become a success anyway. He dreamed of the day when he would be much bigger than the remaining members. One day they would inevitably call him and beg him to carry his bags around during his world tour. The story goes that the fired guitarist started another band, and used his rage and hard feelings about his former crew to drive him into rock and roll history. This guitarist name is Dave Mustaine who founded the uber-successful band Megadeth. This new band went on to sell over 50 Million albums during his career.

While this sounds like a fairy tale ending, unfortunately, it is not. The band he was kicked out of was Metallica, who went on to sell 120 Million albums worldwide. To most people, you would think that after you sold 50 Million records and lived the life of a famous rockstar, you wouldn’t care so much about old grudges, but in this case, because he had chosen to measure his success based on the relative success of his former band he could never find happiness. He even wrote a song in 1994 call Youthanasia in which he talks about contemplating suicide.

Dave Mustaine’s story is a case study on what happens when you measure your success on external factors that you cannot control. Even though he was successful according to any number of metrics, the one metric that really counted to him was how he did in comparison to his former group Metallica, which of course is something he could not control. This is where Why questions come in handy. If Dave had drilled down into his Why, he would have realized that the real reason he wanted to be in a rock band was to make great music the millions of people would love. By that metric, he could have enjoyed his success instead of always feeling like second place.