5 Lessons I learnt from the extraordinary David Bowie

It's been a week since David Bowie has become a blackstar but somehow I'm still hoping that this is all a bit of a joke. He always seemed so immortal. The loss is too overwhelming.
A constant changeling, one could be forgiven for thinking that death is just the next thing that caught his endless curiosity. I'd like to think that he went back to where he came from, and by that I don't mean Brixton.

Even among creative geniuses David Bowie was the most outstanding. Always exploring new territories, always ahead of the pack, always genuine, always completely captivating. A starman. An icon.

The fashion was there from the start. Groundbreaking, androgynous, outlandish, inventive (insert your own adjectives here).
There are so many incredible outfits but I have a soft spot for the Kansai Yamamoto bunny suit. I also spent 15 minutes looking at the Alexander McQueen union jack coat for the Earthling album cover and the clown suit from Ashes to Ashes is an absolute masterpiece. David Bowie didn't do boring.

David Bowie's legacy is so comprehensive on so many levels but it's the way he lived his life that inspires me the most. Here's what I learnt:

1. Be true to yourself
Throughout his very long career David Bowie was always an original and always followed his own path. In one of his interviews he said that only two of his albums were bad and that's because he wrote them for an audience rather than for himself. in the words of another talented Englishman: Be yourself, no matter what they say.

2. Don't be afraid to take risks
David once said "The minute you know you're on safe ground, you're dead".
I'm not very comfortable with disappointment and failure (who is?) so I sometimes avoid taking risks. But if I honestly look at my path so far, my best opportunities and success came from taking risks which initially ended in disappointment and failure. You live, you learn, you get way better!

3. Don't be boring
David loved traveling and anthropology and was interested in pretty much everything (except for country & western apparently). Everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him often commented on how interesting he was. The world is full of inspiration and ideas, so read, watch, listen, touch and explore as much as possible. Stay curious.

4. Be nice to people
Although fame has for a long time been a part of his life, David bowie was a humble and a genuinely nice person. Journalist Tony Parson said "Bowie was always the easiest rock star in the world to talk to: open, engaging, hiding nothing. Endlessly curious about the world, and about himself."
In his many interviews he's always easy and friendly, even deflecting annoying questions with a cheeky smile. You don't have to be nice but there's no benefit in being nasty.

5. It's OK to plan ahead
Despite his outrageous rock star persona David didn't leave as much to chance as it might seem. He took over his own management in the late 70's and after almost going bankrupt made unusual financial arrangements to secure the future of himself and his family to this day.
I'm a terrible planner because I like the future to be unknown, but financially this has set me back. I'm now learning that it's ok to plan some things. The rest of the future can remain unknown.

Coming to terms with the loss of a hero takes time. I'm not entirely convinced that I will ever let go because I don't think I want to. At least not for a while.
Goodbye David Bowie. I hope you're free just like that bluebird. Beep-Beep.


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