Choosing to Walk the Walk as a Musician, and Looking for the Gold in Everything.
Throughout the ages there have always been consequences that come from making choices; that aspect has never changed. Whether you choose to join that band or sign that record deal, or go with that management company, there are consequences that you may not know about at the time that will definitely affect the rest of your life.
If you believe you’ve made a bad choice, you may choose to blame others, which can affect your state of life and general happiness and make it hard for you to feel empowered as a musician going forward. By blaming others we give our power away. When we find it hard to see the wood from our own trees, we can end up wounded, blocked and lacking in confidence.
If you want to make good choices in your career, you might be doing so in order become better off financially, and have most or all of your material needs met. Yes? But you’ve got to feel right too, haven’t you? If you’re making money but deep down feel nothing you do inspires you or makes you happy; if you’re finding you’re always complaining about something, you probably need to take a deeper look at the choices you are making and why.
Even if you’re at the top of your game, you’re going to have to look at whether, in the long term, your choices are going to affect negatively the way you feel about yourself, even if at the moment you are getting all the attention and money you need. Similarly, on the personal side if you’re in a place where you kind of love someone but not really; that you feel you would be better off with another person, before you walk away or let them go, maybe you should look at your own life first. Ask yourself this; is my thinking around my relationships taking me further away or bringing me closer to having a deeper, more connected and balanced life?
The important thing is to have a balanced understanding of what we need as human beings to be happy. We get bombarded every day with information that drives us to desire stuff, convincing us that it will make us happy, only to find that once we get there, the happiness is fleeting and unsatisfactory. We’ve got to go beyond that kind of thinking and focus more on our long-term needs.
We are born knowing that choice is the most powerful thing – that’s why we often don’t like making choices. Most of us are terrified of the consequences or being held accountable. But we have to make them to move forward. Most people will do anything to postpone making choices if it involves change. It’s because, as human beings we have developed a mindset that is afraid of taking risks, and getting hurt or not being liked. Unless we are able to find a way to overcome these feelings we are always coming from a place of fear. We can end up feeling alone like a piece of flotsam being tossed around in a huge ocean with no land in sight. I know because I’ve been there.
We need to replace our fear with the belief that it’s not possible to make a bad choice, and realize that everything that happens to us, whether we see it as good or bad thing at the time, can be seen as part of our life’s journey and a blessing in due course. Whether it’s a good or bad choice depends on the way we perceive what’s happened. Whether it’s been to our benefit or to our loss, in the end it is up to us to decide.
Here’s what helps me; I tell myself I only have one life and I want it to be a great life. I’m going to walk the walk, and face my life whatever happens. I’m going to do it with integrity. I’m not going to betray myself or let others betray me, or put myself in the position where I want to force another person to do what I want to do in order to please me or make me happy. Instead, I’m going to make sure I’m conscious, awake and responsible when I make important choices for myself. And I’m going to pray for my dreams to be realized, and keep looking for the gold in everything.
That doesn’t mean I’m never going to be unhappy or make mistakes again. That is unrealistic and I would be lying to myself. Suffering and making mistakes are as much part of life as joy and happiness are. When I am unhappy and feel alone, I know I need to reach out to someone I can trust, and I will do that, because it’s a strength not a weakness to ask for help.
As human consciousness world re-known speaker Caroline Myss said in her recent talk on making choices, “Liars don’t heal. You can eat all the wheatgrass you like. But an honest person who eats cat food will go further than you”. And she goes on to say, “Life will never be fair. Life is unfair – bad things happen. Healing is not about forgetting. It’s about never being defeated by it.”
I don’t agree with everything Caroline Myss says, but she makes a valid point here. No matter how terrible things are, I believe the situation can always be turned around, if we can be honest with ourselves and look at the bigger picture. When my daughter Rosie died even though I was in such pain, I saw I had two choices – to let my life wither away, resigned to grieving her loss, (which I could easily have done), or live my life better than ever. I scraped myself off the floor and dragged myself up, choosing the latter path. One thing I knew for sure, I could never get her back, no matter what I did.
It hasn’t been easy, but with every major achievement since her death, I’ve often expressed my gratitude and told myself that it probably wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t died. I am not the person I was when Rosie was alive. Through this incredibly tragic and sad event, I believe I have become a better, happier person with more compassion towards others. It’s an amazing and priceless gift from something terrible that happened in my life.
Take risks. You don’t have to wait for proof. Otherwise you might look back at the life you could have had. Don’t take the safe path. Don’t look backwards to move forwards, because there is nothing back there. That part of your life is over. When it is time to make a decision, do not base it on who you were or what happened before because you are not that person anymore. What builds strength courage and creativity is to take action based on a great life state, which comes from being open, spiritual, and honest.
What are the words that you say to others? What are the words you say to yourself – those words that are in your head? The power of the vocabulary we use day to day can be extremely toxic. We can be so critical and judgmental, hostile towards ourselves even, and that’s before we start judging others. It’s too easy to see our life and others lives as not enough, and be liberal with the put-downs. We’ve got to watch out for the way we are quick to blame and our indignant attitude when we don’t get what we feel we deserve. If we stopped accusing of others of being at fault, instead of taking responsibility for our actions, we wouldn’t get so depressed and feel so powerless.
If you’re feeling unhappy today reach out to someone you trust who has experienced good and bad things similar to you and come through them positively.
If you want to reach out to me, I am only a phone call or an email away….
To find out more go to www.thepowerfulartist.com
Gina Langton, Buddhist, public speaker and activist, has a Masters in Music Business Management and many years of practical experience in the music industry. From musician to producer to publisher and manager, she has experienced some very heavy and dramatic losses both personal and financial. Rather than opt out of the business altogether, she’s felt drawn to focus on teaching others what she’s had to learn herself; how to successfully navigate the business and deal with critical emotional issues that often come, not from the business itself, but from not knowing enough about life and how it really works.
Since 2002, she has been consulting for artists and music businesses that are seeking business learning, encouragement and wisdom to pursue long-term sustainable careers, in an industry that takes no hostages.