When life hands you lemons do you just sit there and suck on them? Or do you make a boutique lemonade company with clever branding, strategy and marketing, nail the hipster beverage sector and retire to your own island? Things can be really, really big sometimes. Big stuff can happen; natural disaster stuff, health stuff, environmental and mental stuff can happen, hamper, shape or knock us for a six.

These big events can also transform a career, kick start a dream or push the person into new frontiers. Look at the music world. It has been shaped by so many challenging moments.
Bill Withers as a child developed a chronic stutter. Not a good start for a singing/song writing career. He kicked the lemons to the curve and overcome his speech impediment to record “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Bam ‘nuff said.

Rick Allen of Def Leppard was thrown from a car and severed his arm during a race. Allen went back to the drum kit retooled it to suit and is still playing today.

Ray Charles had his brother drown when he was 5 and went blind at seven years of age. He went on to play piano, saxophone, trumpet, and even that clarinet thing. Inspiring…

Tony Lommi of Black Sabbath lost the tips of his fingers in a work place accident. Instead of giving up on guitar he went on to create a style and sound still emulated.

Not to forget Stevie Wonder, Jeff Healey, Ian Dury, Django Reinhardt and many, many, many more (pretty much anyone who has ever recorded three repeated guitar chords). Their “life lemons” did not stop them, but often made them even more creative, resilient and distinctive.

Expanding from musicians to other artistic pursuits, we have artists that have strapped paint brushes to arms (Chuck Close). Animators were fired from jobs for not being creative enough (Walt Disney). You then have people whose whole career has been a lemon. Van Gogh is recorded as having sold one painting in his lifetime (out of 900+ works of art).

The lesson?
Sometimes our trials, set backs and calamities are the very thing that give us our “x factor” and drive. A silver lining.

“Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that fe-ee-eelin” – Journey

Merry Christmas folks!