Bowie’s frenetic, unique dance was a lifelong mission to explore and live outside the parameters of accepted norms. Many dismissed his early years as insane rantings and posturing fuelled by a drug addiction. Certainly these were dangerous, erratic and bewildering times for the man. Over time however he took control back from the drugs and lived an extraordinary, productive and creative life. Every moment was on his terms: “He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way.” Tony Visconti, Producer News of Bowie’s death touched a nerve deep inside me. I was not alone. Generations mourned his passing. Every tangential, tender, adventurous and, dare I say it, odd fibre of our beings vibrated in sympathy and mourning with his passing. He was a salve to societal wounds. Ironically, history will forever reference the rule book of fame and deem him a ‘success’. But if Bowie taught us anything, success is subjective. So I can only wonder what he is thinking right now. A line from a grand ballad from his last album Blackstar, which was released just three days before his death, gives us some clues:
“I’m dying to push their backs against the grain and fool them all again and again.” From ‘Dollar Days’, David Bowie.
These last words summon a picture of the man, a living god of his times but still just a man, pushing and fighting back against what is expected. Imagining beyond the borders of what is known. That’s what I like to imagine as it ignites my passion to do the same. It is just as likely, however, that congruent with his lifelong method, he is really just keeping us guessing.
Will you indulge me a moment as I chase after him and go star-gazing? The Bowie Effect For more than forty years Bowie was always evolving, changing, and pushing the boundaries of expectation. There are so few artists, or businesses for that matter, which have lasted decades let alone continued pushing forward, innovating and evolving. Even fewer have managed to remain relevant, maintain our attention, fire our imaginations and win our love. Bowie was one of the rarest of that breed. He was a brilliant artist, musician, writer, actor and producer. Effortlessly he created a movement which spread across the globe in a wave of passion and generated loyalty which lasted a lifetime. In the face of all adversity he continued on. Above all, Bowie was a visionary. This is a trait that all great entrepreneurs share. So what is the magic that created the Bowie Effect and how can we sprinkle it on our own lives? * Commitment to a constant journey of curiosity, exploration, innovation and creation. * Walk your own path boldly with courage and unwavering determination. * Embrace your difference as the secret to your personal power. * Accept that things change and you need to be ready to adapt and evolve. * Experimentation is not negotiable. * Ultimately, your personal success can be judged only by you. * Self-belief is the cornerstone to a happy, successful life. Get your Bowie on.
GLOSS FEBRUARY - MARCH 2016 | 17