In today’s attention market place, it’s easier than ever to look at what other people are doing, compare yourself and evaluate your self worth. This can lead to all kinds of negative spirals and self doubt, bringing you to a depressed state, limiting your ability to take aligned action toward your goals and ultimately feeling overwhelmed and doomed.
I want to take a minute here to talk about overcoming obstacles, staying on point and knowing how to find inspiration daily that feeds your fire. This is proabably one of the most important things you can do for your music career, and while seemingly it has nothing to do with music, it has everything to do with music, because at the source of music is the musician, and at the source of the musician is the mental and emotional state of the musician. There’s a few steps you can take to help elevate you out of the comparison conundrum.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
1. Gratitudes. It may seem simple but expressing what you’re grateful for, by recounting, writing down and reflecting starts the mind in a positive spiral. You start to realize the things you are focussed on lacking aren’t really there and you have much more to be grateful for than you might initially realize. Wrtiting your gratitudes consistently daily when you first wake up, having your cuppa tea, coffee, or before your morning routine is a great way to align your mind for success. Remember, it’s the consistent part that works like compound interest with a multiplying effect over time. Practice this for 6 weeks straight without skipping a day.
2. Expectations. We live in a world where we have adopted certain standards for things. Sure, you want to better, yourself, improve your situation, and hold a high bar for yourself, a standard of excellence. The problem is you become dissapointed when you don’t achieve what you have in your mind. By having expectations you only allow yourself to become dissapointed and stressed when things don’t work out. Instead, start a practice to eliminate expectations. First you have to become aware that you are infact holding an expectation of an outcome. When you don’t have expectations, you can only be pleasently surprised. Expectations are not the same as goals. A goal provides a general direction which guides your actions, while expectations are mental affirmations we tell ourselves about how something “should be” or “ought to be.” This one is huge.
3. Positive Potion. It’s like the old saying “you are what you eat.” Well, you can spend your time feeding yourself junk food for the mind - things like negative news, time-suck YouTube wormholes, social media comparison, trolling, reading critical reviews, focussing on negativity in general. Instead inject yourself with what I call Positive Potion. So how does this work? Well, there are so many hours in a day. If the majority of your time is spent uplifting the mind, then you simply have less time focusing on negative garbage. Take a moment to choose a stew of positive things to “input” into your mental mainframe, and then schedule a bit of time throughout the week to “feed your mind”. Things like meditation, inspirational videos, music that uplifts you, maybe personal development books, surround yourself with people and characters who inspire.
4. Nutrition and Exercise. There is a strong and vital connection between mind and body. When you make time to nourish yourself with good healthy foods and clean water, you instantly are taking steps to feeling better. Your body is your vessel, and you are the pilot of your vessel, so provide your vessel the most optimum fuel, not only for a healthy and strong body, but a healthy and strong mind. Regular exercise where we have movement, getting the blood flowing, using our vessel, we release oxytosin, dopamine, We all know this to be true, but honestly, ask yourself, do you really practice this?
5. Build Your ARK. “How do we change the world?” God asked Evan. “One Act of Random Kindess at a time,” responded Evan. Ok, this one was hijacked from the movie Evan Almighty, but it was said so poingantly that it can be repeated here. By practicing Acts of Random Kindness (ARK), you are taking your mind off yourself and focussing on helping others. When we help others, something magical happens. “For it is in giving that we receive.” ~ Saint Francis of Assisi. Think of it as selfish selflessness. “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
6. Discovery Your Why. Like drones, we are often unaware of what drives our behavior, or that we should even ask the really deep question: why do we do what we do? This gets to the point of our purpose and our path. Many of us believe we are the masters of our destiny and that we choose our path, only to discover later that our path was implanted into us by our initial life conditions, our environment, society and our peers. Our current purpose could be providing us all the joyous inspiration we need or want, or it can be a frustrating slog depleting our life force. If it’s the latter, it may be that you need to discover or re-discover your why. This requires a some soul searching, vision questing and questioning of your current why - asking questions that unravel the layers and allow you to discover the truth. You might ask, why am I pursuing X, and when you arrive at an answer, then ask a question of that answer. Keep probing until you have a clear Aha!
Musicians are conduits of emotion, and in a sense, we remix reality, which is a composit of our experiences, thoughts and views, talents and abilities, through our unique reality filter, which becomes the music we make. To be “inspired” is to have creativity and life breathed into you, filling you up. The opposite is to be extinguished and have the wind from your sails depleted. By practicing these 6 ways, you can rise above, find forward momentum and be more inspired every day.
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