Billy Joel has been so successful that a recent article about him was titled “The Thirty-Three-Hit Wonder.” And the first thing we think is–didn’t they miss a few? But it wasn’t always Billy Joel taking his helicopter to Madison Square Garden for sold-out shows and two hours of hero worship. Like most successful people Joel had to keep trying after numerous almosts and failures. And like all successful people, he did. Billy Joel kept trying.
Joel’s first bands failed. His first albums failed. Even the albums with hits on them–those familiar songs didn’t become hits until later. He had a manager that took most of his money. And that part of the story contains another unusual secret to success, Billy Joel-style success: he forgave the manager. Billy Joel learned not to hold grudges. They eat you up inside. Critics said he was soft and light–mere fluff in the era of hard rock dominance. He didn’t hold it against them–just kept making music, which turned out to be hits. Billy Joel marched to the beat of his own piano. And then when the hits stopped flowing he took his success and toured colleges to teach, to share, to learn–as in the video below. Lessons from Billy Joel: perseverance, belief, perseverance, effort, perseverance, forgiveness, perseverance, pride (but not too much), gratitude and perseverance. How’s that recipe for life?