This week, Charlies Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer, passed away at the age of 80. A member of the band since 1963, Watts was an icon in the music community, and perennially tops lists of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
Interestingly, despite his success, he didn’t relish the spotlight. He had a boring home life (only married one time!) and didn’t fit the rock and roll stereotype. He reported that in the 1970’s, he tried to grow a beard and the effort left him “exhausted”. For a guy who went on every Rolling Stones tour from 1963 through 2019, he was actually quite the homebody. From USA Today:
“I don’t actually like touring, and I don’t like living out of suitcases. I hate being away from home. I always do tours thinking they’re the last one and at the end of them, I always leave the band. Because of what I do I can’t play the drums at home, so to play the drums I have to go on the road, and to go on the road I have to leave home and it’s like a terribly vicious circle. And it’s always been my life.”
Watts, who worked as a graphic designer before joining the Rolling Stones, came up with small habits to keep himself grounded and above the fray while touring with the world’s greatest rock and roll band. One such habit—started in 1968 and kept until his death—was to draw a sketch of every bed he ever slept in while on tour. From the Guardian: “It’s a diary. Now I can’t miss one because it’s like ruining ‘a day in the life of’. So I just draw every bed that I sleep in when I tour with the Rolling Stones.”
We have observed that many high performers have interesting little habits to keep themselves grounded amidst chaos. Some hedge fund managers go for a walk every day at noon; Bill Gates sits in a rocking chair to relax. While nobody in the Chenmark ecosystem is a household name, participating in small business operations can be a stressful endeavor. As a result, we strongly support whatever habits one needs to remain grounded, whether it be taking a break to eat lunch outside, going for a walk around the block, or keeping a journal. Maybe we’ll take a page from Wells and start sketching daily activities. Whatever works to keep ourselves balanced and fresh for the work ahead.
Weekly Thoughts will return Friday September 10th. Have a good Labor Day!