We are all in the same boat. We all are being forced to adapt to the blistering pace of change we see in the world. It’s unsettling, it’s scary, and, worst of all, nobody knows what will happen next. Alvin Toffler predicted that we would live in a state of “cultural anxiety” in Future Shock. Who would have known that what he predicted in 1970 would come true?
For many, death is something to be feared…hence the massive pain we see in the world as we witness the end of the Industrial Age. And why is it that death is promoted as the ultimate “dark” experience? Are we even aware of what is dying?
It appears that the 300 lb. gorilla in the room is that what we have known to be true is not only being questioned, it’s dying. (Kubler-Ross talked about grief in her famous book: “On Death and Dying” ).
Fear not…what is dying is what we are conditioned to believe…not life itself.
Life constantly moves forward regardless whether we like it or not. Engaging fully with life is the hard part…especially when we are desperately holding on to the past to make sense out of our future.
Accepting is to let go. It is impossible to truly accept and be fearful.
If you understand the process of grieving you will be on your way to accepting your current circumstance.
The fascinating thing is if you let go, you won’t break. You will be set free.
If you are a business owner, a marketer, a concerned individual or all of the above it probably occurred to you that “community” is a buzz word that is generally misunderstood depending on where you stand.
Building a community is hard work. And, like any endeavor, without clear goals the chances of success are slim to none.
When defining a goal there are usually more questions than answers. What can easily be missed is in this process is the underlying intent behind the action.
Are you honest with yourself about why you want to build a community? Is it for money? Is it to satisfy your ego? Is it altruistic? Is it to amass power?
It can be all or none of the above.
Beyond understanding the building blocks needed to create a community (barrier to entry, influence, shared emotional values etc), it is important to be clear about your underlying motivation as well. Clarity of purpose (intent) and motivation will guide your every move going forward. Success will require following a predetermined road map along with enough gas in the tank to get you there. Intent and motivation provides the fuel needed to make the journey.
It’s a funny thing about human beings: we all perceive information differently and to a large degree will spin information so that it falls in line with existing beliefs (confirmation bias).
In “Blink” Malcolm Gladwell talks about our innate ability to determine truth from fiction based upon facial muscles, instinct, context etc. No longer is “do as I say, not as I do” a valid strategy. This falseness will be apparent to everyone. Like “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, let’s hope you are not the last to know.
Building a sustainable community requires being clear about your intent and motivation. The quickest way to discover that is to look inward with honesty. Your audience/community will then be able to determine if the value you offer warrants their attention. If they choose to participate it will because they perceive that membership is of higher value than the real or implied “barrier to entry”.
Ever give much thought to how you present yourself when you met someone? Do you stumble over words? Do you maintain eye contact? Does your body language indicate warm and inclusive or guarded and remote? Are the muscles in your face relaxed or tense? Do you ask questions and listen? Or, do you talk over the other person?
If you are in sales you have probably thought about these things. If not, it may have never given it much thought.
PRESENTING YOURSELF ONLINE.
Even though online interaction is primarily text driven, your choice of language, photos, which posts to comment on and which to avoid is essentially a reflection of who you are and defines your online presence. These interactions are how you will be judged and will determine whether or not the reader will choose to engage.
Successful social media interaction requires you to understand “why” you are posting/commenting/likeing etc prior to making the post. Once you click return you lose control of your message.
Best be focused if you want to get your message across.
When we start out it is very difficult to figure out how to begin work on a piece. If you are lucky there will be a burst of inspiration. Quite often that is followed by a blank stare. What do I do next? Where do I go? How will I ever finish? It is common and very easy to slip into a depression at this point to where you stop work and never finish.. We all go through this…everyone.
How does one combat this? The key is learning how to approach the process and to learn how you behave in the midst of this process. The better you understand yourself and your process, the better chance you have of being effective.
Once you decide on the original idea….commit to it. This is crucial. Defining your goals in real terms, language etc gives the structure needed to get to the end. I’m reminded of an Igor Stravinsky quote: “the more restrictions I place on myself, the freer I become”. At first glance this may seem counter-intuitive. In fact, it is just the opposite. Without definition it is impossible for your listener to understand what you are doing. If you look at a great painting, the intent of the artist will be clear. The mystery will come from your interpretation….what you think of the work. Great art provokes a response. Music is no different. Limiting the scope of what you are attempting will train your mind to focus. And, the creative mind will look for ways to take these few symbols or characters and make something new.
Now it is time to go to work. Sitting at the desk is mental exercise…not unlike going to the gym and working out. Instead of lifting weights you will be in a constant problem solving state.
As you work on a piece you will get distracted, stop and start, come back to it another day. You will find no limit to number of distractions you will potentially face. Take a minute and jot your goal down on a piece of paper or index card. Defining your goals, committing to an idea will give you an object to refer to as time passes…reminding you of where you are going.
I’m also a HUGE fan of the idea of getting to the end. It is impossible to evaluate a work without having something complete to judge. One of the huge advantages of midi is that enables you to switch gears and become an audience instead of a participant. Listening to what you’ve done with a critical ear…judging your work not from your ego (aren’t I cool?) but from an objective and analytical point of view (how does this help me achieve my goal?) is the key to growth.
Steps to take:
Commit to an idea
Limit your possibilities
Define your goals
Putting in the time
Judging your work objectively
Understanding your process and training yourself to think in these terms will move you forward as an artist…if you do the work. That much I can guarantee.
Like any muscle, the more you exercise it, the easier it becomes.
Creativity Crisis: Does American Business Stand a Chance? http://ping.fm/syZ3n
It’s high time that we value and support creators and the creative process. Diane Mermigas (as you may have already known) is one of my favorite writers.
Her post is well worth the time.