Rick Allen (of Def Leppard), Earth Angels & Your Perception
Picture this: It's New Year's Eve 1984 in Sheffield, England, and Rick Allen is driving his Corvette too fast, which is exactly how a hot sports car is meant to be driven. Unfortunately, Allen rolls the car and is ejected through the sunroof. He has on his seatbelt, but Rick Allen’s arm becomes tangled in the belt, which causes the belt to sever his arm from his body. In the vicinity during this incident is a district nurse, who essentially saves his life.
Later, doctors informed the drummer that his recovery was going to be very lengthy, six months at a minimum. After one month, Allen checked himself out of the hospital because he was mostly recovered at that point. It was a miracle, without a doubt, and Rick Allen has stated that the fact that a district nurse was in the vicinity is one of those “angel things” that we all know happens here on earth.
Once home, he grappled with the fact that he was not going to be able to play drums again and contemplated how he was going to spend the remainder of his life. Once Rick Allen started accepting his loss, he decided to try playing the drums, just to see what would happen. He told himself not to compare himself to other drummers at the time, and not to compare himself to the old Rick Allen because he was a very different person now. The musician had been through a significant trauma and had survived, and this required a new perspective.
Allen says that once he was able to let go of comparing himself to others and his previous self, he was able to rise to the challenge, which we all know he has done very beautifully. Def Leppard is still a top band today that brings joy to millions of fans, myself included.
As we know, we live in a society where we constantly compare ourselves to others. As we get older, many of us have the tendency to compare ourselves to our younger versions. I'd like to encourage you not to do either. Don't compare yourself to others and don't compare yourself to how you were in your younger years because you have more life experience now, which has (hopefully) provided you with insight and maturity.
And if you're facing a significant challenge, think of Rick Allen and use that as your motivation to move forward. Your perception and your beliefs are everything, and they are the only things that are holding you back.
Ask Rick Allen, but you'll have to shout in order to be heard over the drum noise!