At times there are moments of decision that move us along regardless of our own lack of interest in forcing an issue. Sometimes, for example, we do not know exactly how much time is necessary to lay the groundwork for something that we may want to do. At times there are more steps than we think are necessary, and the length of the challenge is itself part of the challenge, trying to demonstrate if we have enough fortitude to see the process through to its end . As someone who finds that seemingly simple searches require epic quests, I often find that I have seriously underestimated the amount of time and effort that tasks will require in order to see them through, and wonder if this is a more common experience for other people or if it is somewhat unusual that what should be short and simple matters are far more lengthy when I am the one trying to accomplish them.
Let us move from their airy territory of generalities and get to some specific examples. I am at least a moderate fan of the rock group Goo Goo Dolls. Like many bands, they had a long career in the underground before reaching a surprising and surprisingly lengthy period of popular relevance. After starting in the 1980’s and inspired by the Replacements, this Buffalo band had some singles that were considered particularly dreadful, including a few with a local lounge singer who was viewed as a particular poor singer and general presence. By the mid 1990’s the band was heavy in debt to their music label, especially after their album Superstar Car Wash had been an expensive flop that ended up with no crossover singles. When the song “Name” from their follow-up album A Boy Named Goo was successful, the band was in the awkward place of having a big hit and having sold several million copies of an album without making much money from it because of their having released album after album that hadn’t been successful. At this point the band was in a moment of fishing or cutting bait. Would they squander their success at the height of their popularity or not? As it happened, they were able to renegotiate their contract with their label and managed to put out several more albums that have been successful over the last 20 years and have made them among the more notable Adult Alternative acts in history.
Not everyone is so successful with this. Continuing a musical example, let us look at the band Styx. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the band had a successful series of albums that was popular with fans but not popular with critics. Their lead singer, a fellow by the name of Dennis DeYoung, wanted to have their albums mean something and their later albums became increasingly ambitious conceptually, like Paradise Theater and most notably Kilroy Was Here. This doesn’t mean that the concepts were necessarily good, but rather that the albums were meant to carry some weight. As it happened, many of the band members didn’t understand the concepts and the weight of doing something that they did not understand and were not on board with led the band to break up after the release of Kilroy Was Here. After some years most of the band was able to reunify and sing on the nostalgia tour circuit, but Dennis DeYoung has not been invited to sing back after failed reunion attempts in the 1990’s. Those memories have died hard and the band chose to make their troublesome concept artist cut bait or sing on his own, as he did with his solo hit “Desert Moon.”
What does this mean for us? No matter how dull or unexciting the lives we live, there are things we all want out of life and many of these require either the active support or at least the noninterference of other people. How to get these things requires that we build rapport and demonstrate some sort of ability to work with other people. The things we want may require a fair amount of persistence in developing ourselves and our skills and showing our competence and our character. Sometimes those challenges seem to last interminably long, but if we want to see something through to its end, we have to be good for more than a few days or a few weeks or even a few months or even for a few years. Such is the life we live, though.
 See, for example: