Beautiful little kid boy playing piano in living room or music school

"I don’t think telling a kid who can’t sing that he can be a rock star is doing him or her any favors"

Most times when you go to a concert, it’s the music you remember. With that said, it’s been a month since I saw Post Malone play in Glendale and still find myself pondering his parting message to his fans. 

I’ll have to paraphrase a bit since the hip-hop pop-rapper favors saltier language than my editors will allow.

The gist: “Do what you want! Don’t let anybody tell you can’t do $#*ing something or tell you what you can $#*ing be. Live your $#*ing dreams.”

Given that “Posty,” born Austin Richard Post, owns the top-ranked album of 2019 with “Hollywood’s Bleeding” and that his music has been streamed more than 6.5 billion times this year on Spotify, this philosophy appears to have worked out pretty well for him – at least to the ripe old age of 24. 

But is it good advice? That’s what I’ve wondered for weeks.

Have to say, I don’t think so – though the concept of living your dreams has launched a million self-help books and, more recently, a few zillion social media posts and hashtags. 

All around us all the time you bump into people who describe their new job, new business or their kid’s next JV basketball game as the pursuit of destiny, a desire burning in them like a cauldron. 

They’re “on their grind,” #hustling, forever busy “living the dream.”

So busy that they never appear to notice something else essential to success: Having talent and skill also plays a role in achieving your dreams, alongside passion and desire.

Maybe that sounds like a killjoy way of looking at things, but with all due respect to Post Malone, I don’t think telling a kid who can’t sing that he can be a rock star is doing him or her any favors. 

Then again, people love Bob Dylan’s voice, so I suppose there’s always a chance, however infinitesimal it may be.

When I was a kid, my dream was to play NBA basketball like my idol, Julius “Doctor J” Erving. 

I’d clear snow off the playground to shoot jump shots in winter and dribble and work on moves to the hoop for hours. 

Somewhere around age 15, I realized that at a shade over 5-foot-10, my NBA prospects were limited.

A few years later, my parents, teachers and professors helped me understand that my gifts involved words and stories. 

In this way, a journalist and communications consultant was born.

Point being, I was never going to fly to the rim like Julius or become a point guard like Steve Nash. Would pushing me to try regardless have been doing me a favor? I think not.

Instead of living your dreams, I’d like to advocate for living your gifts.

Maybe your child has a unique ability to connect with people emotionally and empathize with their troubles. Encourage them to become a doctor, a nurse, a therapist. Maybe you hate your retail job today, but you have a passion for tinkering and the ability to see how pieces and parts fit together.

Great.

Start that side business as a handyman or assembling Amazon orders. Maybe you dream of seeing far off places. Learn to save money and then by all means go.

Of course, this sounds like much less fun than your average Post Malone lyric. Like this chorus from “I’m Gonna Be”: “So I’m gonna be what I want, what I want, what I want, yeah/I’m gonna do what I want, when I want, when I want, yeah.”

The dude brought 15,000 screaming fans to Glendale. Meanwhile, no one came out to see Post Leibo. So maybe my practical vision is all wrong. But I think not.

David Leibowitz has called the Valley home since 1995. Contact david@leibowitzsolo.com