Last week I had a fine get-together with some college friends, some of whom I have not seen in what feels like 20 years. To my surprise and delight, one of my music professors came on through and we got to hang.
What a delight it was…to be able to show him some of my accomplishments and thank him for his support in my formative years. His style was that of an older guy who saw seeds of talent and knew that students would flourish, given encouragement.
Rather than force his way on them, he was a listener who was constantly amazed at what the young “cats” would come up with. Now he’s amazed at the changes in the music business over the last 25 years and following it closely. He learns from as well as teaches his students.
The point is this – I saw that while he let me do my thing and kick my own butt, he supported my vision. That’s not a small thing. In fact, that is huge. Thank you, Jim.
Here’s How to Be a Visionary, in a Nutshell
Imagine what you want to be do or have, and have the guts, the balls, the whatever you call ’em – to have that clear vision in your mind’s eye – in spite of what is presently around you.
You see, your present surroundings and circumstances are the result of the past, but your future is the result of your vision NOW. This can be tricky to maybe pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and will require 1) a defined, not foggy, vision of what you want, and 2) repeated practice in having that vision. You may have to get away from some present circumstances to strengthen your vision.
How to Avoid Kryptonite
One of my best friends is in a very unsupportive relationship. The minute he has a vision, a dream – it gets shot down by his “significant other”…and this is the worst poison anyone can have in their lives.
Basically this person in his life is creating the future out of what she sees presently – but my buddy wants a future to come out of his “vision”. That’s 2 VERY different approaches, kids!
Before being a solo guitarist, I was the guy playing every restaurant in NYC and teaching twinkle twinkle to 8 year olds. I am in no way putting that down, because it’s noble and many people all over the world do that! Hiowever, I wanted more than that…I wanted touring, I wanted my talents to shine, and want to make a couple o’ bucks too! 🙂
To have more fulfillment for myself, it all had to start with a dream, a vision. (See my blog on upward & downward causation)
Looking back from the vantage point of now finally being on an upward swing of success (and enjoying the hell out of life) I tell you this – in comparing my professor who was encouraging, and my friend’s wife who shoots his ideas down….
Stay away from the negative people like Superman avoids Kryptonite. One bad word can weaken you…it’s the worst poison there is.
1) “Well you’re still gonna have to pay the bills…”
2) “Well you still are going to have to be realistic…”
3) “You’ll never make money doing that…”
4) “You are not ______ enough to do that…”
5) “You are (race, sex, religion, age) and no one will ever pick you….”
Anything like this serves the person saying it, so that they can justify THEIR lack of strength in being a visionary. It has nothing to do with you, and simply serves them.
I heard and dealt with all of this too…and the only cure is keeping one’s own vision clear.
If you need support in your vision and don’t have a supportive person in your life – you have me now. I’ll support your dream and help you.
Leave a comment or email me, and know that Adam believes in you. That’s the coolest gift I can give!
Reed Robins says
Nice Post Adam. Keep writing, and thanks for your thoughts on this important topic.
I love that you’re doing so well!
Wisest words Bro. Gone down to 3 days/week to start to play Jazz at 44! Oh yeah, and left the girlfriend who said I’d never make it too. Don’t want to be famous, I DO want to be the best musician I can.
aidan rainsford says
Great post…now got to work on a vision!
Wow, very well said Adam. I can relate as I am kind of at a “creative crossroads” now, really trying to laser-focus my vision amid some (subtle) naysayers and the like. Money is important of course but having a clear vision, a passion and a conviction that it can be done to me is #1.
Roman Age says
my girlfriend has been reading “the Artist’s Way” (by Julia Cameron), and although I only went quickly through it (I find it hard to read this kind of books, even when they are good), I can see it states the same kind of things you’ve just said, which is very true.
As for myself, I find that having a clear vision of what you want to do/be is the hardest, more than any trouble that may arise along the way. In a way it’s a positive attitude as it seems that anything is possible, but on the other hand it involves first having to make choices (and renounce certain things that are not a priority), not something to be taken lightly.
Gareth Barnes says
Mate, that was a really moving post. You’re 100% right too -it’s a very very cool gift.
Thank you, and we also believe in you 🙂
Keep on pickin’!!!