Lady Gaga’s Secret To Success, And Her Oscar Acceptance Speech
Written by Dr. Larry
When Lady Gaga accepted her Oscar for best song of the year, she insightfully told us what it’s really about, which isn’t the award.
“And if you are at home, and you’re sitting on your couch and you’re watching this right now, all I have to say is that this is hard work. I’ve worked hard for a long time, and it’s not about, you know…it’s not about winning. But what it’s about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it. There’s a discipline for passion. And it’s not about how many times you get rejected or you fall down or you’re beaten up. It’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going. Thank you!”
I loved that she said this. “Discipline for passion.” What a great quote. From the outside, walking the red carpet and winning the Oscar, standing in front of the celebs and giving a worldwide televised speech is pure glamour and fame. I’m sure that moment is just as surreal and amazing as we imagine it to be. It is tempting, from our outsider view, to just assume she’s talented and it was easy.
But the first thing I want to point out, is her focus on how long it has taken to get to this level. There really is no overnight success. Even for the best actor winner in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malik, who was relatively unknown before that role—he has spend decades, DECADES, working as an actor, at getting good at his craft. Likewise Gaga talks about never giving up, and all the blood sweat tears and TIME it has taken to get good.
Why does it matter? Because you too can get great at something. She’s pointing to the real secrets, which is not going viral in a moment or getting lucky or discovering a series of “hacks” to success. It takes time, hard work and more time to achieve true excellence at your craft. That’s how she did it. That’s how we can do it.
But there’s so much more to this story. Let’s go a little deeper.
Even in revealing her secrets, she’s only focusing on the level of behavior, or what she did. Bigger determinants to her success (and yours in your space, I would argue) are the levels of beliefs, identity (beliefs about self), and mission and purpose. Bigger drivers, bigger impact. I call this hierarchy my iceberg theory. Let me briefly explain (you can read a longer winded explanation here). It rocked my world when I started seeing things at this deeper level.
What we see is just the tip of the iceberg, the piece of ice sticking out above the surface, when there is a huge hunk of ice going down into the water. In this award case for Gaga, what we can see is her success, the award. Her giving the acceptance speech. We don’t see the years and unending hours of training and performance—the behaviors and actions that have led her to this award. Those are just beneath the surface. Behavior is like the first level of ice in the water, that we really don’t see much of.
Same questions: What is your reaction to this one?
What message did you hear?
Deeper to behavior and habits are her beliefs. Both about the world, about music and writing, etc—and on a deeper level to that, her beliefs about herself (we call that identity). That she’s an artist. That she can do this, and is good enough, talented enough.
The practice and behaviors are essential, but the deeper beliefs especially about herself and what she is capable of—are even more important, I would argue. Can you imagine her writing and singing this song if she truly didn’t believe she was good enough? She could do all the right behaviors, but that belief would limit her from this greatness. Both are essential, but the belief is more important.
But even more important that belief, and deepest level, of all—is that of mission, and purpose. Why does she do this? Why does she perform and sing, and why did she do this movie?
I’d love to interview her and ask those deeper mission purpose questions, and how they played out with this movie and this award. But I’m going to wager a guess, one that is a common motivation for great things, and great figures. Their work helps people. It makes the world a better place. She feels called to do it. It isn’t just about her.
Having a deeply committed vision that is interwoven with all of the above—but is essentially about giving/contributing to other people—is the deepest secret of all.
And nothing that we can see when she stands at the podium.
Do you have that? I would highly recommend you think about how what you do provides meaning to more than yourself? To others, to your friends and family, to the world. Why? Yes, it’s good for others and the world to work to help them, but having service integrated into your work and life helps you. It makes your life better. When our mission in life is connected to greater meaning, especially helping other people, it’s like magic. Think about running a marathon for yourself, that’s a good thing. What if you were running and every mile raised money for children with cancer. Or you were running for a family member who died of cancer. Or you were running for your children, who were watching on the sideline.
That’s a very different race.
A mission that gives to others can supercharge your life. I wonder what Gaga’s is. What’s yours?