If you know anything about Joy Division you know their story doesn’t end well. It’s hard to see how one can possibly learn something valuable from a band who's vocalist committed suicide at twenty-three, I know. But before I lose your attention I assure you there’s plenty to learn from these musicians. Let me remind you, this is the band that went from zero to a hundred in four years. They started at the bottom and made it to the top with only two albums. How did they do it? If you think it was purely luck, keep reading.
“I was thinking two things. Two things that I suppose you’d have to say came together to create my future - my whole life from then on. The first was: I could do that. … And, God bless him, whatever he [Johnny Rotten] had, he gave a bit of it to us, because that was the second thing I felt, after I can do that. It was: I want to do that. No. I fucking need to do that.” - Peter Hook, Unknown Pleasures
This is easily one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever heard. Joy Division gives me hope for being a musician more than any other band. It seems that lots of successful musicians either grew up in a musical family, had lots of help along the way, or could afford to get special training. Joy Division didn’t have any of that. Their story starts when Peter Hook dragged Bernard Sumners to go see the Sex Pistols. At the time they didn’t play any instruments. In fact, they didn’t know anything about playing music. All they knew at that concert was, “I could do that”, and “I need to do that”.
It’s this mindset that changes lives but it’s also one most people lack. No, it wasn’t pure luck that got this band to the top. It was pure determination. Their willingness to take risks and their dedication to learning made them one of the best. Of course it wasn’t easy, but did they care? No. Nothing could’ve stopped them from accomplishing their dreams because that was all they had. Sometimes desperation can lead us to determination.
This story is a good reminder to keep moving with the end in mind. More and more each day I’m learning to forget what the world is doing and keep focused on my goals. It sounds selfish, but imagine what the world would look like if everyone said, “I could do that” and “I need to do that”. Joy Division taught me to stop thinking and start dreaming. Stop worrying and start doing.