“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
– Steven Pressfield, from The War of Art.
Some of you may have read between the lines here and figured out that a guiding theme in my upcoming book, “Getting Down to Brass Tacks,” is the awakening to how I could have found my heart’s desire without making so many detours, how I could have done things differently, perhaps lived in a more expansive way, developing my talents better, recognizing them more clearly and appreciating and honoring them more.
It was a subtle thing, but I actually reached a point in my life where I thought that mediocrity would keep me safe. I hope you never reach that point. It won’t keep you safe, and it’ll just try to take you further down if you believe that it will. Even if that does happen, though, sooner or later your wonderful self won’t settle for being trapped in such a strait jacket.
So, can you really just become who you are and let everything else fall into place, or do you have to make special efforts to validate yourself by “putting yourself out there?”
Jazz pianist Bill Evans, in the documentary video “The Universal Mind of Bill Evans, said that he once wondered how he could get his career started as a jazz musician. He said, “Ultimately I came to the conclusion that all I must do is take care of the music, even if I do it in a closet. And if I really do that, somebody’s going to come and open the door of the closet and say, ‘Hey, we’re looking for you.’”
Even though everyone I know seems to be promoting what they do in the social media (including myself), I take Bill’s words to heart, because I’ve found it all too easy to be tempted to put myself out there before I’ve really taken care of the music.