By Mark E. Smith
Indeed, I am on the cover of the July 2012 issue of New Mobility, as the author of the magazine’s feature story, which is an all-night, true-life tale of me in Vegas (and, yes, it involves booze, chicks, and a bowling shirt – that is, the cerebral palsy version of Charlie Sheen, minus bi-polar disorder and cocain).
For me, making the cover of New Mobility as just … well …me, is among the coolest accomplishment in my career – and very humbling. Appearing in mainstream magazines – usually skewed toward a heroic, inspirational persona – isn’t my gig. Who I really am is lost in that. But, to make the cover of New Mobility not because I’m an inspirational figure or because I’m interviewed or because I’m representing anything, but because I’m just me on a tangent in Vegas is pretty darn cool, the ultimate compliment from those who truly matter to me – my peers and readership. (And, it’s an impressive feat for a man of such indiscernible skill and as void of charm as me, where somehow my just hanging out in Vegas and writing about it qualifies as a partial way to make a living – I’m like the Kardashians, but with even less talent, if that’s possible.)
However, while the cover is already framed and hung with pride on a wall among other such achievements in my home, it ultimately represents a larger truth: Beyond the lasting positive impacts we’ve had on others, what we accomplished yesterday does not dictate our potential for today. There’s no riding what we did yesterday. A magazine cover is great, but it’s yesterday’s news – my sleeves remain rolled-up and working, making the most of today. After all, today is all we really have to work with. Life’s like peddling a bike – the minute you stop putting effort into it, you stop.
Think about how that concept applies to every part of our lives. So many people get caught up in yesterday that they completely waste today, using excuses from the past not to make the most of the present. I hit my sales target for the month, so I can coast for a bit. My relationship has been good, so I don’t need to do that little something extra for my partner. I accomplished that awesome feat, so surely I’ll forever command respect.
No, yesterday is gone, and our only true merit is based on what we are accomplishing today. Just because you hit your sales target doesn’t mean you stop there. Just because your relationship has been good doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make things even better today. Just because you had major accomplishments doesn’t mean that you should quit striving.
If we’re going to be successful, we can’t look at life as riding waves, where we just try to coast from one periodic success to another. Rather, if we’re going to be successful, we must look at life as a never-ending mountain to climb, a daily work ethic toward new growth in all areas.
Sure, it’s nice to hang a new memento of my success on the wall – rock-starring it on the cover of New Mobility, looking every bit the absurd part – but it’s all just memories and decoration in the end. My only value is in my current project, whatever it may be, where I’m hopefully making a difference in the lives of others.
As you read the piece, I hope you’ll recognize that any sort of celebrity is really an illusion, where such stints as the glitz and glam of me rock-starring is cool, but it’s not where the true value in life is. Rather, the real message in the piece – as in life – is that it isn’t who we are or what we have accomplished that adds value to our lives, but it’s our capacity to embrace others, from all backgrounds, that truly makes us each a superstar from the inside out, everyone equally deserving of gracing a magazine cover.