Survival or the pressure of success

39 years ago, on the first day of summer holiday, I bought a holiday-pass. It was the first time that my small German village had such a holiday pass. One of the offered activities was a trip to an attraction park in the Netherlands. Oh, how much was I looking forward too this, it would have been my first time abroad!

With the holiday pass in my bag I was on my way home, by bicycle, when a car hit my bike from behind with 120 km/h. I was unconscious for 4 days and spent all 6 weeks of summer holiday in hospital.

I survived, despite bad rumors about me being paralyzed, having a leg amputated or even being dead. That’s very special. At the age of 11 I started to think about life and death. There had to be a special meaning for me to still being alive, to have survived this accident.

It was a heavy weight on my shoulders. I felt like I had to proof that I was still worth living! The only moments I could relief myself from this pressure, was when I was reading. My mind disappeared in books. But when reading I didn’t proof anything, so I started to feel guilty and ashamed.

When being very successful as musician, something similar can happen. You look for a meaning of your success and feel the pressure to repeat it. You have to proof that you are worth all the attention, that you are worth your success. You might be afraid that others will call you a fraud, and that you don’t really have an argument to proof them wrong. Instead of reading books, you might want to look for relief in alcohol or drugs.

A year later I got the holiday pass again and went to the attraction park in the Netherlands. And guess what, since more than 20 years I’m living in the Netherlands!

Six years ago I started to turn around the negativity still associated with June 16 by looking at the accident from a different angle. I wasn’t looking for the meaning anymore. Suddenly I realized that it’s a day to celebrate. What a relief, I survived! I’m alive! I don’t have to proof anything. Being alive is all that counts, I’m worth being alive!

You can also look at your success from a different angle. What if there is no meaning? And if you don’t have to replicate it? It’s all about begin alive!

June 16 has become my second birthday. I call this day Hilde-is-alive-party 🙂



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