How to Rock On from a Bad Event – David Grohl

August 16, 2012


Who: David Grohl

Where Is He From: (Mainly) The Lead Singer and guitar player for ‘The Foo Fighters‘ – (He was also the former Nirvana drummer and is a member of many side projects)

Why Look At Him? Grohl is a great person to analyse. He is a supremely talented musician that has been successful for years. However it is the  way that he bounced back after his initial band collapsed that make him such a great person to look at.

For those of you who are maybe not familiar with Grohl – he was a major success with the band, Nirvana, where he was the drummer. Sadly the band ended up disbanding, after the tragic suicide of the lead singer (and possible cultural icon) Kurt Cobain. However, from the ashes of that band, Grohl rose again to form a new band, called the Foo Fighters (still touring today) and become hugely successful again. Grohl had money. He had fame. He would have probably been guaranteed royalties for life. Yet, what made him begin again? It is his passion for something that motivated him to absorb something bad and shake it off and continue again.

We all encounter bad things but it is how we deal with them that shows the true measure of who we are. Grohl is a great example of someone who took a big hit and simply shook it off and got back into the game.

Before we go on, I think we should have a quick look at him in action:




It is the reason that Grohl started again that I feel that we should look at him. Grohl started again because of his love for the art he performed. He didn’t need the money. He didn’t need the fame. He didn’t need the fans. He needed the feeling that music creates in him. He loves to perform, to create and display his craft.

He was affected by the sad events of Kurt’s suicide but he did not allow it to stop him from performing. It is OK to grieve for someone but it should not stop you from living your life the way that you want to – something that Grohl seems aware of. Bad things happen, to good people regardless. There is no escaping that. You can either run from them or you can deal with it and use it to become a better person. Bad things will happen regardless of what you decide to do, so wouldn’t it make sense to learn how to deal with them in a way that you can grow, develop yourself and get a more kickass life from doing so?

Grohl has hit new heights since he started again. I wonder, what could you accomplish if you dealt with the bad things that you encounter rather than running from them? Where could you be in your life if you did? Looking at Grohl, it gives you a chance to see what you are running from in your own life and how you can deal with them.




  • He has true passion. You cannot watch a Foo Fighter film and not see the true passion that Grohl (and his bandmates) have for music and entertaining their fans. In my experience, passion over-rides far, sadness, nerves etc. If, like Grohl, you are passionate about something, it doesn’t matter how scared, nervous or jittery you feel about something, if you feel passionate, you will push past those short-term feelings and emotions to perform and to do the thing that makes you passionate. By performing regardless of the fear etc, you embrace the long-term benefits that doing something you are passionate about brings. Moreover, being passionate will push you to get out of bed when you feel depressed. Being passionate will make you take chances and push yourself past your comfort zone, whereas a non passionate person may crumble under the pressure that a bad event brings and hide themselves away. What are you passionate about? What makes you get excited about to do in your life? How can you become passionate about the things in your life that you can identify where you don’t deal with it or run away from your problems?
  • Isn’t afraid to go back. Grohl became the front man of the Foo Fighters after being the drummer for Nirvana. When he was a member of Nirvana he sat at the back, as the drummer, while the main focus was on Cobain. Now Grohl is in the limelight. He gets the attention, he gets the limelight … and probably all the attention from the girls. However, Grohl isn’t controlled by his ego that many who become successful seem to be. He is willing to go back to play drums for other bands and when working with other musicians in session work. Grohl knows what made him famous. He still is passionate about drumming and music in general. Grohl does not let his ego dictate his actions. By going back to his ‘bread and butter’ Grohl allows himself to remain grounded and to see things from another perspective. You need to do the same. Never become too prideful to restrict what you do simply because you are not good enough or you get criticised by others. By going back, you can see how far you have come. This can give you a great motivational boost to propel you onwards. Also, by going back, you take a breather from the road that you are heading down and see things with perspective that everyday life sometimes doesn’t allow. By looking at life from where you started, you can see if the life you are moving towards is where you want to be and readjust how you live your life accordingly.
  • Grohl invites bad things. Grohl does not just play in his own band, he works with other musicians on tour and in session. By doing this, he invites bad things to happen because he is having more experiences (so in theory, there is more chance for bad things to happen). He puts himself outside of his comfort zone and into pressurised situations that he cannot always control. However, by experiencing more things, Grohl teaches himself to adapt to the potential influx of bad things in his life. He experiences more bad events than someone who stays in his comfort zone and doesn’t try things, so he learns how to deal with them and becomes more experienced i bouncing back. Grohl will learn not to take bad events as personally as someone who rarely ventures out of their comfort zone will as he will realises that these things happen to everyone and is not a personal attack to anyone.

Remember – If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you. By letting go of control, inviting bad things into your life by trying a lot of new things, you see that bad things are not to be feared. They are not personal. They happen to everyone. They give you a chance to learn and better yourself. Grohl could easily have rested on his laurels and not too any chances with his music and being associated with artists who would maybe have brought him negative press. However, Grohl is a passionate man, who pushes himself onwards and trys new things to keep his passion alive. What sort of things have you always wanted to do? What things are you hiding from because you don’t want bad things to happen or you fear the worse? Pick one thing that you always want to do and go for it, right now. Take a chance as it may go amazing. Even if a bad thing happens, you know its not personal and would happen to anyone. Learn the lession from it and go again. Become passionate and rock this world!




  • Don’t Stop. Bad shit will happen to each and every one of us. There is no way of getting away from it. The world is not all about rainbows and fluffy bunnies. Bad things happening is inevitable, however it is how you deal with it that can change your life forever. The worst thing that you can do when something bad happens is to give up. Pick yourself up, look at where you might have gone wrong, readjust your approach and go again. On your deathbed, you will regret the things that you didn’t do, not what you did do. Do you want a safe live where you did nothing or would you like a life on par with Grohl who has been in two fo the biggest bands of this generation? Become passionate about everything in your life, keep checking where you are going in your life and keep pushing yourself onto bigger and better things.
  • Always be looking for the ‘Silver Lining’. What happened to Kurt Cobain was a total tragedy, there is no way else to look at that sad state of affairs. However, Grohl saw that it was not the end of his music career. He overcame the pain of losing his friend and returned to his arena to fight again. No matter what happens, there is always something good that you can take from it – be either a lession learnt, a new avenue of thinking or action to take or simply knowing what doesn’t work. The next time that something bad happens to you, try not to react to and dwell on the negativity. Instead, take a short period of time and write down what happened and what good that you can take from it – then readjust your plan of attack and go at life again with a renewed enthusiasm as you now know one way that won’t work and you won’t do it again.  Death comes to us all – family, friends and strangers too. We can’t do anything about it. Until our time is up though, we can always get up from bad events, no matter how bad they are, learn from them and carry on. I have had a lot of bad things happen (or what I saw as bad at the time) and had some deaths in the family. What it made me realise is that life is short. We need to capitalise on what is happening to us now, while we are on this mortal coil. We need to take advantage of us being born (over the millions of other sperms who had a chance). Do you not think that we were put on this earth for a reason? I’m not religious, but I do feel that we have a purpose. What is yours? Why would you let a bad thing that happens to everyone stop you from learning your purpose? Seize the day, week, month, year and your lifetime. Start right now (but finish this article first and comment too please!).
  • Bang and strum. Grohl plays different instruments. It lets him see things differently as he experiences different styles and experiences. You need to open your interests and mind to different options as well. Just because something has always been done a certain way, it does not mean that it has to be done the same way still. You get one crack at life, why keep getting the same results? It was Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results each time. Instead you should try new things. Look at problems in different ways. Just because you are used to playing behind the group, it does not mean that you can’t adapt to lead the group instead.

By trying new things, you won’t just learn new skills, you will also develop your brain to adapt to new pressures, to push out your comfort zone. It will make you become accustomed to stronger ‘problems’. You will become stronger emotionally and take on bigger challenges in your life and hit heights you didn’t believe possible (even if it is just starting with new baby steps each day).

  • Don’t stop, no matter how high you soar. Challenge yourself with new ways of thinking and learning. Collaborate with other artists or departments, or play other sports, or try different promotions or … or … or … there really is no end of what you can do here to keep challenging yourself and learning as you go. Keep pushing yourself as you learn and grow. Go for bigger and bigger challenges. Find the tasks that make you keen to jump out of bed and pursue them with a passion. No matter where you end up, there is always something that you can do to improve and better yourself. Grohl continues to push himself onwards and do new things to deepn his understanding of his passions and how he views life. He doesn’t allow how others view him to dictate how he lives nor does he conform to any particular stereotype of how a rock star should act. Why should you too? A bad thing is a pain in the ass but it is not the end of you. What are you letting hold you down? What bad things are you letting you from reaching new heights? Take ten minutes and look at all aspects of your life. What do you want to do in life? What limiting beliefs about yourself and what you are capable of doing are you holding onto and letting control how you live your life? Let go of them. It’s that easy. Just decide that you are starting afresh, pick what you want to do and go for it. As Brent Smith says, ‘your story is only as complicated as you make it’. What do you want? Decide and go for it. Pick more things as you go if you want and adjust how you go for things along the way but begin now. Right now (well at the end of the article!).  Bad things happen to everyone but you are a unique and awesome person. Are you really going to let a general bad event stop you from doing the amazing specific thing that you are here to do in this world?



You can be a big success or you may fail each time you try. However, bad things will always happen, there is no way to realistically control them – the most you can do is try and plan but few things ever go the way you plan. Grohl is a great example of someone who has encountered a tragedy and instead of letting it stop him (or rest on his previous success) has started again and hit (depending on your opinion) greater heights than previous. What can you do if you reset your controlling beliefs, stop letting old events dictate how you interact with the world and instead began again? What can you do? How can you make your life amazing? It is in you right now. You don’t need anything else. You know what you can do, no one else. Don’t let others or events control what you can achieve in your life. In your deathbed, ‘they’ won’t be there. Bad shit may have happened to you but I think it’s time for you to delete that recording and start taping your hit record again right now!




The next time something bad happens to you, will you stay down and feel sorry for yourself or will you use Grohl as a role model and instead, take whatever you can learn from the experience and go for what you truly desire again? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Finally, another song to listen to as you comment below (thank you!)


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