I am an addict and I have finally found the courage to admit it. The taste, the surge of energy and the rush of memories are overwhelming. I can’t stop no matter how hard I try! I know it is bad for my body and yet it feels so right for my mind.
I have sought help, but no one has been able to curb the sensations of that substance on my tongue. I have spent the last few years trying to make sense of it all and I am now finally able to admit that I am addicted to Fruity Pebbles! The texture, the smell, the taste and the excitement in every bowl is something I can’t describe with one word. I once ate two boxes all by myself during a late night study session when I was at Northeastern University and I probably could have eaten more if it weren’t for the 14 hours of sleep deprivation.
Right now you’re probably thinking that this Louie kid thinks he’s a comedian and he’s not even that funny! Well, the truth is your right! I’m not that funny, but this story isn’t truly just about my love for my favorite cereal. This is about how that love changed my perception on how to navigate my life and career.
I have been blessed for the past 20 years to travel the world performing and writing songs as part of my living. I have had a Sony Publishing Deal, played in stadiums for thousands and have performed in small dive bars for 20 people. I’ve partied with governors and broke bread with criminals. I have had the opportunity to write songs for major cable and Tv networks and write songs for fans on my Instagram. Every one of those opportunities were worth more than their weight in Gold. The one thing that each opportunity had in common was the fact that they were all based on a relationship I built. It wasn’t until I realized my addiction to Fruity Pebbles that I discovered how to truly harness the secret to my success.
I played a lot of hockey growing up. I played on multiple teams and traveled to many places for games, which gave me an opportunity to sharpen my skills at making friends. I would talk to everyone from the snack bar lady to the guy that cleaned the ice. You could say I had a problem never shutting up. I’m sure I could be annoying at times but it just felt right. Why not ask the guy who sharpened my skates a few questions about his day instead of just standing silent by the stick isle staring at the curve on the new “Paul Coffey” Sherwood. That guy definitely thought I was annoying, but I was young, innocent and excited about life.
It was never a secret that 80% of success is who you know but so many people go about it the wrong way. Listen, I’m a kid who grew up in the city streets of Boston, so politicking is a way of life. If you wanted something you had to create the opportunity to get it. That opportunity was proving your value to someone who held the key to what you needed. It was just a way of life if you were motivated. If you wanted an extra piece of candy at the 7-11 then you tell the girl at the counter how good she looked in her new glasses. If you wanted to bowl an extra string and had no money then you make friends with the kid who wiped down the lanes. The problem for me was that I just saw these people I knew as a way to get a job here and there or cut the line at a busy night club or just the ability to say that I knew some connected people. It was almost more of an ego builder with no long term vision. I was sincere in my like or dislike for that person but most times it was very short sighted. At this point, you’re all probably saying, “What the hell does this have to do with Cereal”? Well for me, the cereal part is everything!
One night I was wandering through the isles of one of my fav 24hr pharmacies looking for a fix of that Fruity deliciousness, when I bumped into an older gentleman looking for his cereal fix. We joked about grown men sneaking out for late night snacks and he told me about his divorce and then I talked about mine. We spoke about what we did for a living, which turned into a 45 min trip to the store and me agreeing to playing a private concert for his family and friends the following week. This gentleman turned out to be a very influential and wealthy individual who’s circle of friends at the party where people I could never have imagined getting into the same room with. I had more life changing conversations during that show than I ever had before. This opportunity was eye opening and put a whole new perspective on who I was and who I could become. I finally realized the enormous impact of a skill I already possessed. The ability to connect with people.
My addiction for that beautiful Fred Flinstone covered cereal box opened up my mind to possibilities I didn’t even know existed. I knew you had to be dedicated to your skill set but I didn’t really understand the enormity of making human connections. In the 10 years since that late night encounter at the cereal aisle, I’ve tried to take every opportunity to strike up a genuine conversion with everyone I meet. I’ve learned that the business of success is not always monetary. New relationships will not always directly affect your career path or your pocketbook, but will fill the holes in your soul that will allow you to see yourself better. When you see yourself clearer, you give off energy for successful opportunities to find you. Soak in these experiences and life lessons because you will never get that kind of information in any book!
I am now about to release a new song that I wrote and recorded in Nashville and try to continue building on this amazing 20 year journey. The world has changed with Covid and Social distancing but you should never let distance get in the way of making that personal connection to other human beings. Even though we may never meet in person, I hope you find success in all of your endeavors. Remember to open up your mind, heart and soul to people and don’t be afraid to make new friends. The most important advice I can give is to never turn down a good bowl of cereal!
Louie Bello started singing harmonies on the the city streets of Boston at the age of 15 and now graces stages from Nashville to London. This former Sony writer ads a blend of country and RandB to his latest record that has earned him over 200,000 streams on his last single. Www.louiebello.com