Life is easier when it feels like someone cares about you, what you do, and if you’re going to be around. The way to find people who care is to do things that matter. (Of course, everyone has an intrinsic value because they’re human and they’re alive. I’m talking about a bigger picture view.) Different people have different ideas of what “matters,” some of which you may not agree with. For this reason it’s better if you do what matters to you. The idea is that by doing things that matter to you, regardless of the approval of others, you’ll gradually attract other people who care about the same things. In this way you can have people who care about you that also agree with your vision of what’s important. What this means is that it’s okay to feel down sometimes because nobody is around. As long as you do things that matter (to you) the people, things, opportunities that you need will materialize on their own. This might explain why you may find yourself surprised by situations that come about. Perhaps you need to take a close look at what you actually DO to figure out what needs to change. Sure, sometimes tragedies and unfortunate things happen but much of this is not in your control. It’s best to stick to working on things within your power and that mostly means doing things that matter to you, no matter what.
The new year party has come, gone, and left me in Phoenix for one month. After spending three weeks in San Antonio I found myself driving non-stop through the middle of the night to PHX. Fueled by energy drinks with scientific-sounding names I was somehow focused enough to ignore sleep and drive through bizarre West Texas desert towns, New Mexican “safety corridors,” and through the belly of Arizona with a Mexican chef whose truck I was borrowing snoozing in the passenger seat. The whole way crosswinds shoved the truck from side to side with a giant pack filled with camping gear and a mountain bike perched on the roof of the camper shell. I rolled into town at 5am not sure where I would sleep that night/morning. Slept at the band house as it seemed the most logical just in time for our shows at PHX FMLY FEST and the next day at Trunk Space. Eventually I figured out where I’d be sleeping the next few nights. How strange it felt to be a stranger in my own town.
I’ve been back for just over a week and it feels bizarre to be isolated in your own hometown. Honestly a lot of my friendships have taken a bizarre turn due to a really potent relationship I’m still not sure how to sort out in retrospect. To counter not great social situations I’ve been focusing on work, booking shows, and brainstorming projects that can get me through the new year. In particular, this next year will be an experimental new approach to how I’ve done music the last few years. Whether this means a new band name, new collaborators, or no collaborators remains to be seen.
So far I’ve been focusing on taking care of business back home: dentist appointments, bills, and buying things like new shoes and thermal pants. Living out of a backpack is better when you have good shit even if it’s just a few things. For now my headquarters will be a room rented from a home-owning friend until at least the end of January. Well-meaning family still calls me concerned that I’m homeless and/or wasting my life. If only it were that simple! Not having many entrepreneurial-minded friends is difficult but I’m hoping to meet more like-minded people soon. Continue reading →
Has anyone ever asked you for advice about a problem at the same time you were dealing with something? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been giving a friend advice when the words falling out of my mouth were the exact things I needed to hear to solve MY problem. It’s a humbling experience that always jolts me into a better perspective.
Maybe the reason we can’t see our problems clearly is because we think that somehow our problems are vastly different than someone else’s. That the solution that would work for someone else just wouldn’t work for us. Most of the time that’s bull crap. It also has a name – special snowflake syndrome.
If you’re like me and constantly take in vast amounts of how-to information, maybe it’s time to revisit your strategy. Reading and thinking are NOT the same as doing. Physically working on a goal puts the focus where it needs to be. Not in your mind but out in the real world.
If something is stressing me out I try to find a way to work through it in a physical way. Make a mock up of the idea. Draw a picture. Or just exercise. While hands are building something minds can work in the background to bring things into better focus.
My time in San Antonio will soon be coming to an end. The last few weeks have definitely opened my mind to some new possibilities, allowed myself to take a breather, and reconnect with old friends. Still plotting my next move… I’ve realized that I don’t want to settle, at all. The next few months will definitely be interesting.
Focusing on work is one of the biggest challenges I face as a freelance writer. Maybe you have trouble focusing on things you really would like to get done but just can’t find the motivation?
Diving headfirst into the world of self-employment has been an interesting affair so far. Interestingly it has made me a lot more creative musically. Songs come by so much more easily than before and they actually get finished. Having a flexible schedule really helps with creativity.
For me, motivation is simple – I have to finish the job, meet the deadline, otherwise I don’t get paid. The problem is, I’m not really motivated by money. It’s strange but true. In the past I’ve been able to get by on so little anything beyond that seems a bit like a luxury. Doing things that don’t pay just seem more fulfilling than paid work. But ultimately, having more than enough money to get by is necessary if you want to grow and take on bigger stuff in life. Making money is necessary so I meet deadlines, contact clients, and the whole shabang. You can only cut expenses so far and in the end it’s a losing race anyway. Being productive at will is less stressful than a mad dash the day before a deadline. Continue reading →
It recently occurred to me that some of the best art is created in times of difficulty. Interestingly that’s also when people are the most productive: when they have to be.
I decided to roll up all the business and productivity advice I’ve been ingesting the last few months to create a new project to finish the year off right. It’s called the Modern Lo Fi Project as I’ll only have access to an acoustic guitar, a cell phone, and my laptop.
For the next 2 weeks, until the end of the year, I’ll be attempting to create as many songs, videos, and collaborations as I can. This incorporates a couple of lessons from productivity gurus:
1.) It’s a goal with a limitation (2 weeks)
2.) It’s defined (post new songs, videos)
There are a few other good reasons why I decided to start this project, but for now I’ll leave it at that. Here’s to follow-through and spontaneous creativity!
I was listening to a song from a somewhat obscure singer discovered a long time ago back when Myspace was popular. To me his songs are simply amazing. No matter if he’s not some pop darling somewhere that bloggers fawn over, the songs are just that great. What I really love about the songs is how the words capture some mundane surreal ideas that only seem to come about in passing. Things you noticed once when driving down the highway alone in the fall or in between lines of a book.
Ever been on a long road trip? Staring into the vague distance, the excitement of going somewhere new has worn off and the act of driving is now just plain work. It’s been 18 hours and dammit, this sucks! Yet, somehow we always get where we’re going. Call it the magic of travel, things just always tend to work out. Wouldn’t it be great to apply that to the next project you’re working on? Knowing that, no matter what, your next endeavor will get finished.
How many times have you said something like this only to realize later that you didn’t follow through? Doesn’t that feeling suck? For me it does. Generally I like to do what I say I’m going to do. Part of it is to be known as a dependable person to others, the other part is for myself. Remember when you were a little kid and someone would promise you something? Maybe the teacher promised the class a pizza party on Friday… and the pizza party never came?