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Flow like water – Part 2

Friday’s “thought” was about the Karate student who was distracted by other students. To continue that theme I’d like to share an experience from the 80’s. As an aspiring song-writer I read something several years ago in an article. I can’t recall the author, but their words have stuck with me over the decades – “As soon as you become concerned about how your song will be received by others, your creative energy will dissappear. In fact, you will probably not be able to finish the song.” Sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it?

An experience with my old band “Light Horse” illustrated the point quite well. The band was good enough to start getting shows, and we were even booked by an advertising agency for some pretty lucrative shows. However, there was this little country bar named “Country Corner” that we just couldn’t seem to get into. The owner wouldn’t even listen to our demo. As the band leader I became obsessed with getting booked there. Looking back it was funny because we were already playing other places much nicer and for more money.

One Wednesday afternoon he called and asked if we would be practicing that night. If so, he wanted to come hear what we sounded like. I was ecstatic! Immediately I started calling everyone and telling them James (the club owner) was coming to hear us. By the time our 6:00 practice started, we were really wound up! Sure enough, at about 6:20 James came walking in. We stopped playing and I introduced everyone. Then the magic moment came. He sat down in anticipation, and we started to play. The moment I had been waiting for all these months had arrived!

The next 30 minutes were some of the longest and most excruciating minutes of my life. We sounded TERRIBLE!!! The vocals were flat, our equipment wasn’t working right and my fingers just would not hit the right strings on the guitar. Nothing went right. How could this have happened?!!!

Although I wasn’t mature enough to understand at the time, we placed way too much importance on this one man’s opinion of us. The result was disastrous. Looking back at our actions, with the wisdom I’ve learned over the years, the outcome could have easily been predicted.

The lesson was loud and clear… we should never, ever place that much importance on another person’s opinion of us, or our performance. To be creative, whether in work or play, means to express one’s self.

Increasingly I just enjoy sitting quietly on a chair playing my guitar. No audience is necessary. There is no need to compare my talent to anyone else. Now I realize that this same attitude makes me a better guitar player, singer, employee, husband, etc. I just do the best job I can all the time. If I do this every day to the best of my ability, then there is no concern.

Perhaps I am beginning to learn how to “flow like water”. Who knows? Maybe you can too!

Have a great day everyone!