Complacency, indecisiveness and deliberation are an artists worst enemies. I speak from experience. To them I have lost countless hours that I will never regain.
For some years now, as many of you know, my personal mantra has been The Less You Do, The Less You Become. My son has chastised me on various occasions for the use of improper English in my mantra to which I reply, “You are not seeing it correctly.”
We are constantly moving toward one thing and away from something else. Sometimes many things at once, but always moving, never standing still.
Have you ever sat in a small watercraft on a wide river? If your craft is ‘at rest’, it may appear to be sitting still, but only because it is moving along at the speed of the river. Likewise in life, we imagine that we are sitting still, when in fact we are always in a natural state of decay and it continues unabated unless we do something to counter it. If we don’t practice something and practice it often, we become naturally worse at it. Imagine what would happen to a pro level golfer or tennis player if they stopped practicing for a year.
I know someone who is waiting for something. What it is, I do not know, but they patiently await the arrival of this something as one would wait on a bus. One day this person will be dead and they will never do the thing, because they keep waiting for the perfect time to do it. That time will never arrive for them until they realise that it is already here. It is akin to waiting for some miracle of God. The miracle is here, dumbass. We are living it. Awaken and be watchful. It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘religion’ it’s all about seizing the day.
Don’t wait until you get something else right before you do what you want to do, because chances are you can be doing what you want to do while you’re working on getting that other thing right. And odds are, you’ll find out that they are one and the same thing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way that an individual can learn anything, is to first practice recognising the facts or the truth, whether or not that truth agrees with what one does or doesn’t ‘believe’. Facts may not necessarily agree with us, but the facts are never wrong.
We mustn’t ‘believe’ that we don’t have to practice. Practice and repetition are not necessarily the same thing. Practice begins as repetition, but as soon as it becomes habitual, that repetition is abandoned in favour of new repetition. Doing the same thing over and over for ten years is not practice.
We mustn’t ‘believe’ that we must first acquire this or that piece of gear, particular instrument or pickup, or that our hair must first reach the requisite length before we can practice, perform or record. These are manufactured obstacles that keep us from doing that which outwardly profess to want to do, yet inwardly dread doing. This stems from self doubt.
We mustn’t ‘believe’ that once a lyric or piece of music is written that it is carved in stone. This is another way of convincing ourselves that we have the King Midas touch. Nothing we do, in and of itself, is ever so sacred that it can’t be improved upon at some later point in our lives. Remember the Paul Valery quote: “A poem is never finished, merely abandoned.”
We mustn’t ever ‘believe’ that our best work is behind us.
And we must remember above all else that this really isn’t a dress rehearsal.
The time is perfect NOW for ALL THINGS.
Johnny Nowhere is a songwriter and composer who woke up late in life..but better late than never.