Never Stop Learning

Note: The following article is copied from my LinkedIn feed. Follow me by clicking here

While on, what I call a drumming sabbatical, in 2005. I traveled four to five hours by bus every month from Berlin, NH to Boston, MA to study with legendary drummer Kenwood Dennard.

The hour-long events turned out to be MUCH more than just lessons on how to become a better drummer. Kenwood is a highly spiritual individual who views drumming, and the world around him, in a very metaphysical way. After each lesson, I would ride home for four hours in a state of intellectual brain drain.

After reviewing my homework from our first interaction during our second lesson, he explained his grading system something like this.

If you prepare accordingly and nail the parts, I will give you a 90. If you prepare accordingly but present the material in a new unique way, say use your feet instead of your hands. I will give you a 95. The only way you will get 100% is if President Bush calls me up and says. “Jeremy’s drumming was so good that I am pulling the troops out of Iraq and declaring world peace.”

At the surface, Kenwood’s grading system seems comical, but I assure you it is not. Rather, it is an important life lesson – you ALWAYS have room for improvement and you should be striving to better yourself every day.

I have carried that lesson with me across oceans and careers. I pushed myself as a drummer bettering my technique, knowledge of music, and reading ability even writing my own book in the process. And while I no longer drum professionally, I still hit the kit six to seven days a week working on these skills.

As for my career as an entertainment and venue manager, I continue to study. I read books on everything from leadership to sociology, marketing, management, and finance every day. I watch YouTube videos on stage design, rigging, sound, and lighting among other subjects. I use LinkedIn’s premium service to study new skills in areas such as Machine Learning, Tableau, and Executive Leadership. I even spend ten to thirty minutes a day learning Spanish.

It was reported that when one of the greatest leaders of our time, President Theodore Roosevelt passed away. They found a book under his pillow. A man who is the only president to receive both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Medal of Honor was still learning up until his last breath. While I would NEVER compare myself to Teddy, I encourage those reading this to not dismiss the power of being a lifelong learner. You may not change the course of history as he did. However, you WILL change the course of your life.

Reflections in the Ocean


I celebrated my Christmas weekend of 2016 with my family at St. Augustine Beach in Florida. Since the holiday is also my birthday, I get to choose where we spend our annual family time. Having lived on the sea for years, I feel a unique pull to the surf and take any chance I can to get back to those crashing waves, so this year I chose that we hit the beach.

I believe humans are drawn to the sea because of what it represents…life. Great tales have been written about brave men facing the ocean since the adoption of the written word. Homer gave us the Odyssey. Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea and no list would be complete without Melville’s Moby Dick. All of these tales share a similar thesis. They are stories of men challenging what the sea, or better yet…life, is throwing at them. Each sets sail on a journey through uncharted waters seeking to find their own sense of being, accomplishment, and truth. Their success hinging on an understanding that they do not know what may lie ahead and the confidence to overcome obstacles that will undoubtedly exist in both calm and rough waters.

During my ship time, I remember we would sail for days on end and never see land, a bird, or another ship. Much like life, we could go in any direction we wanted. We just never really knew what would lie ahead in our course. The surf could be calm or it could rise-up as if it were trying to force us in another direction. Life is like this as well. You have so many choices of which way you shall live, but each carries with it its own unique risks and rewards. It is up to you regarding how long you shall stay that particular course, choose to re-navigate, or if you will give up and let the current take you away.


It is the last day of my birthday weekend and I am sitting on an empty beach as a storm rolls in. I must be stuck in its eye, because the beach has disappeared into the rainy darkness both to my right and left.  The only clear site is the ocean in front of me. It looks so peaceful framed against the approaching storm. Yet, despite the apparent calm path at my bow the cool gray waves continue to crash on the shore and then return to the deep.

It is as if the sea is reminding me that even though the course ahead looks the clearest. There will always be challenges on my journey. The waves will never stop. It is only up to me what kind of captain I shall become and which course I am willing to sail.

May you all navigate your own success in 2017 and in the process find your own truth.