Independent Rockstar

Insight for Independent Musicians

The Patient is Bleeding. Do you Know How to Operate?

Yesterday I read one of the best blog posts I’ve ever come across and I’d like to talk about how it relates to musicians.

If you haven’t read it yet, then I highly recommend you stop here and read ‘6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person‘ by David Wong at

In the post he uses the analogy of a loved one who’s seriously wounded to illustrate his point about what the world values. Here’s an excerpt:

Let’s say that the person you love the most has just been shot. He or she is lying in the street, bleeding and screaming. A guy rushes up and says, “Step aside.” He looks over your loved one’s bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife — he’s going to operate right there in the street.

You ask, “Are you a doctor?”

The guy says, “No.”

You say, “But you know what you’re doing, right? You’re an old Army medic, or …”

At this point the guy becomes annoyed. He tells you that he is a nice guy, he is honest, he is always on time. He tells you that he is a great son to his mother and has a rich life full of fulfilling hobbies, and he boasts that he never uses foul language.

Confused, you say, “How does any of that fucking matter when my (wife/husband/best friend/parent) is lying here bleeding! I need somebody who knows how to operate on bullet wounds! Can you do that or not?!?”

Now the man becomes agitated — why are you being shallow and selfish? Do you not care about any of his other good qualities? Didn’t you just hear him say that he always remembers his girlfriend’s birthday? In light of all of the good things he does, does it really matter¬†if he knows how to perform surgery?

In that panicked moment, you will take your bloody hands and shake him by the shoulders, screaming, “Yes, I’m saying that none of that other shit matters, because in this specific situation, I just need somebody who¬†can stop the bleeding, you crazy fucking asshole.”

This excerpt is from harsh truth #1:

The World Only Cares About What It Can Get from You

Sounds pretty harsh, right? Well there’s a reason why he called them ‘harsh truths’. What’s more harsh than hearing the truth is not understanding it. I actually don’t think it’s harsh at all. I think it’s liberating to hear it stated so clearly.

So here’s the deal:

You try really hard?

Doesn’t matter.

You have good intentions?

Doesn’t matter.

You really need this gig?

Doesn’t matter.

You spent a lot of money on your new CD?

Doesn’t matter.

You need to impress a club promoter?

Doesn’t matter.

You have a lot of potential?

Doesn’t matter.

It cost you $600 to pay your band?

Doesn’t matter.

So what does matter?

People want to transcend their mundane lives.

They want to create a memory with the girl they’re trying to impress.

They want to be part of something.

They want to feel cool.

They want someone else to put into words how they feel so they know they’re not alone.

They want stories to tell.

They want to forget for an hour or two that they’re lonely.

They want to feel alive.

The patient is bleeding. Do you know how to operate?

About Scott James

Musician / Blogger / Web Designer / MBTI Nerd living in Hollywood, CA
Scott James

9 Responses to “The Patient is Bleeding. Do you Know How to Operate?”

  1. Denny says:

    Wow Scott, you come up with some good ones and this is simply the “Human Condition” in a nutshell. It so accurately describes basic human instinct. I personally believe that there are those who do know how to care and practice caring enough to get outside of themselves and they live on a different level of consciousness but all in all and in general this hit’s the general populous right on the proverbial head.

  2. Catherine Hol says:

    Thanks for sharing that post, Scott … and I like the way you’ve applied it to musicians. Some nice writing from you too.

  3. Yeah man…Wow. That’s great. Harsh is right.

  4. Dan Hylton says:

    Great excerpt from an amazing article in Cracked! It is the difference me as a musician now and me as a musician 15 years ago. Thanks for sharing, Scott!