I bought a CD some months back by a band called Dragonforce. I bought it not so much because I thought that it was going to be genuinely good, but because I'd listened to some song samples on Amazon.com and a video or two on Youtube, and I found myself full of admiration for the purity of this band's ambitions.
Dragonforce is not a bunch of guys who thought, "We'd like to be musicians." They're not a bunch of guys who thought, "We'd like to be rock and roll musicians." They did not form their band because they wanted to be heavy metal musicians, or, more specifically, power metal musicians.
One listen to a Dragonforce song (assuming you're the kind of person who can listen to this kind of music), and you'll be certain, as I was, that Dragonforce was formed out of the burning desire of each of its members to be absolutely the fastest power metal band in the history of rock and roll, EVER.
Now, it's debatable whether this ambition is something that anyone truly ought to aspire to. I've come across people online deriding Dragonforce as a collection of simple-minded Johnny One-notes who have managed to completely master a single narrow form of instrumental proficiency at the expense of any real musical or emotional sophistication. And I'll admit, no one is very likely to say, "Wow, the evocative nuances of that latest song by Dragonforce struck something so deep in me that I almost choked up."
But all of that is missing the point.
While I might wish that Dragonforce used a little more syncopation, made more use of varied dynamics, and explored some more experimental time-signatures or key changes, one fact is clear to anyone with an ear for a wide variety of music: Dragonforce is a group of musicians who have become successful by knowing exactly what they want to do and pursuing it with passion.
You may find Dragonforce pointless, superficial, or outright unlistenable, but you can't deny that they are sincere. And I think it takes a pretty small person to say it's not enough for someone to combine sincerity, desire, drive, talent and accomplishment in pursuit of art that others will enjoy.
Do you know what you want? Art? Travel? Spiritual enlightenment? Love? Have your efforts toward these things been directed and focused? Did you learn what it takes to be good at the thing you aspire to? Are the results something you are proud of?
If you can answer "yes" to most of those questions, then it does not matter how modest or how grand your ambitions are. It does not matter if you are Mozart, or Dragonforce, or Shakespeare, or just an anonymous blogger.
Knowing what you want and doing it puts you in the company of the most accomplished people in the world.
Thank you, goddess of love, for the path to an identity that is real and whole.