Monday, September 09, 2013

Soul Is More Important Than Talent

"Creating an experience that consumers would go out of their way to experience again." I like people who see people. In their presence, it’s like every part of your self is mirrored. Honestly and beautifully. They hold a clear picture of everything you are, honor and support whatever you’re becoming and engage the whole person. Wow. It's too bad we can’t bottle, sell and teach that art form. The world would be a much warmer place if more of us understood the human need for visibility. The tricky part is, the experience of being seen is such a visceral, intangible, human interaction, that we only really know it when we feel it. Or don't feel it. Maybe that's the trick. To remember those excruciating moments of overwhelming invisibility, when people went out of their way to make us feel null and void, and promise not to pay that forward. To really take people in. And to remember that a life without witnesses, isn't. That without being seen, we're the trees that fall in the forest.

"Be honest with yourself about what actually works for you." My favorite scene in the movie As Good As It Gets is when Simon tells Melvin he loves him. And with his trademark sinister smile, Nicholson replies, “I tell you what buddy, I’d be the luckiest guy in the world if that did it for me.” I like a man who knows his motivations. But sadly, not everyone takes the time to slow down and get in touch with the deeper currents of themselves. Not everyone digs a good dig down to the center. And this lack of reflection does a disservice to the people around us. From a teamwork perspective, the greatest give we can give each other is an understanding of how we operate. An intimate knowledge of the way we work. What are we like on a bad day? What do we do when the waves of anxiety come crashing in? What’s our victory dance when we win big? These are the questions we should answer for ourselves, and for the people in our lives.

"Soul is more important than talent." The only art lesson worth taking is learning how to hang your balls out there. That's why the audience shows up. That's why people pay the price of admission. To get their faces melted off. To watch someone walk on stage and eat the scenery alive. So my thought is, why waste time on precision and ability and accuracy when we could deliver honesty and soulfulness and grit? People usually forgive a few off key notes if they see your heart in your mouth. Henry Rollins proudly admits he has no talent whatsoever, but he does have enthusiasm, tenacity, desperation and a real desire to not let people down. Sounds like soul to me. And that guy has millions of dollars, millions of fans and one hell of an interesting life. Maybe instead of learning scales and mastering strokes, art students should learn how get up in front of people and crack themselves open.


"I am not going to penalize you for growing up." I'm all for retaining the sense of childlikeness, curiosity, wonder and whimsy. That's what keeps us young and agile. That's what keeps creativity flowing. On the other hand,, there’s something magical about moments that make you feel mature. Arriving at college, getting your first apartment, making your own money, packing up and move across the country, finally marrying the person you love, these are the milestones that affirm your sense of adulthood and achievement and assurance. They make you feel more legitimate as a human being. I did it. I made it. Look how far I've come. And I don't know if those experiences go away once you reach a certain age. But I'm enjoying them while I can. Growing up is cool.