Wisdom. By, Bob Lefsetz

Posted on August 3, 2012 by

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Who do you go to for guidance? Who understands how the game is really played? Who can help you navigate the waters, help you get to your destination?

It’s usually not your best friend. He or she will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know.

And your parents… You don’t tell them the truth, why should they be able to give you appropriate advice? Furthermore, you’re their child, embodying all their hopes and dreams. They can’t get over their image of you to truly rescue you from the pickle you’ve gotten yourself into.

No, you need a business colleague. One who might not even truly be a friend. Who’s a bit more than an acquaintance. Who knows the parameters. Who will help you out.

Some will want payback. That’s the game they play. They want to help you so you’ll help them, when they need it.

Others do it out of the goodness of their heart.

But you need their advice, or you’re lost.

Oftentimes they’re the most reviled people in the business. Because those sans wisdom are jealous. That these people know how to play the game and they don’t. They figured out how to get ahead, when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Everybody thinks it’s about connections, who you know, where you went to college, what you got on your SATs, but you can’t quantify wisdom, it’s not something you put on the wall, it’s something you gain, through insight.

Those with wisdom have experience. Young people are bullheaded, they believe they can power their way through anything. The older you get, the more you realize this isn’t true. Life is about losing as opposed to winning. And if you don’t know this, you just haven’t lost yet, or you’re living in denial.

That’s what you want, one phone number, one e-mail address, one person you can go to in a moment of crisis who can shoot it to you straight. Who can tell you whether to take that job, marry that person, invest that money. Because they’ve been there before. They’ve analyzed the situation from all angles. They’re your last best hope at figuring it out.

On “Newsroom” this week, Sloan Sabbith is in a pickle. She needs wisdom, she needs someone to guide her through.

Mackenzie MacHale, another woman, rises to the occasion.

But although Mackenzie is a friend, and means well, her advice leads to explosions. Instead of calming situations down, she adds gasoline to the fire.

So Sloan turns to Will. The anchorman. The asshole.

Because Will has survived. He’s been there. He’s made it to the top. And that’s no easy feat. You may be jealous of the President, of the CEO, but respect the fact that they got there. They’ve seen the game. They know how to play it.

Ultimately, it comes down to Sloan lying on the air. When she was right. She just committed an ethical faux pas.

But by lying, she’ll save her job and the job of the spokesman she interrogated on TV. She’ll save face for the corporation.

This is where it gets ugly. Most of the people who play by the rules, who believe everything is either black or white, don’t win.

Sometimes you’ve got to do what’s expedient.

Especially in the music business.

I could tell you stories that would make your hair stand on end. And sometime, late at night, I will. You can’t write them down. They can’t be attributed. But they’re the lore you’re privy to when you get in the game.

You’ve got to have your go-to guy. Or gal. You’ve got to know who to depend on for honest, expedient, forthright advice.

I’ve got mine.

Find yours.

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