Music, Creativity and Personal Development
As you may or may not be able to tell from my newsletter thusfar, I am a big fan of personal growth. I spend a lot of time reading about things that will help me be more productive, healthy, financially stable, and spiritually aligned.
For the last year and a half I’ve been reading blogs from my favorite personal growth blogger Steve Pavlina.Much of his writing has certainly creeped into my newsletter, only it’s from a more musically creative angle.
When I found out he was writing a book I leapt at the chance to get an advance copy to read and then apply the content to the creative arts. The basic formula is this book can be applied to every aspect of your life without any conflict or contradiction. This idea really excited me.
Below I am going to attempt to do 2 things.
Give a review of this Book
- Give some practical techniques you can immediately put to use
Rest assured that I’m not going to bombard you with self development products in the future, but I thought some of you might get something out of this and perhaps want to get your hands on a copy of the book or read some of his amazing and free blogs.
Steve Pavlina’s “Personal Development for Smart People” really gave me a lot of great out of the box ideas that I could easily apply to creating music or anything else creative. The general ideas in this book seem deceptively simple in a similar way that quitting smoking is simple. All you do is stop smoking and you become a non-smoker. Easier said than done though isn’t it?
The book is revolved around Aligning yourself with Truth, Love and Power. The sub categories of these primary principles are as follows:
- Truth + Love = Oneness
- Truth + Power = Authority
- Love + Power = Courage
- Truth + Love + Power = Intelligence
Steve’s definition of each goes much deeper than these simple words may conjure up and is definitely worth a read.
So…..Â Lets take this into the realm of music.
Many of us get into music for an assortment of reasons:
A way to meet women/men
A self expression outlet..etc..
All of this is ok if it revolves around who you truly are and what you truly want to express but can leave you feeling empty if you aren’t feeding the soul what it is truly longing for. .
Lets take a look at Truth, Love and Power in the context of music.
Truth makes you ask some hard questions about what you are doing and why you are doing what you are doing. Are you truly creating exactly what resonates with you, or are you following a trend that is getting a lot of attention? Are you truly putting your best effort into your art?
Love is about following your heart and passion. If you aren’t in love with your work it isn’t because you haven’t learned “that one compression technique”, it’s because you aren’t truly creating what you love. When you truly love what you are doing, the whole process, including the frustrating struggles, will never slow you down for long. In fact those struggles will inspire you to think outside the box to find solutions.
Power comes from a confidence that can’t be faked. Only if you are aligned with your own truth and are following your heart will you have the power and energy to persist consistently. Power is what pushes you past writers block and lack of motivation.
See if you don’t Love what you do then you aren’t being true to yourself and if you aren’t true to yourself then there is going to be no energy and power behind what you are doing and at some point you are simply going to lose motivation. If you are going after the money and not creating from the heart, you make make money, but empty expression will even make money seem a bit worthless after the initial thrill has passed.
When people buy music they connect to people with true passion. Of course some fakes slip through, but if you look at the longevity or artists, you’ll find these people were never strictly motivated by money but instead tended to follow their heart
(whether we liked what their hearts had to say or not).
I am not an expert on these concepts myself by any means and I am trying to get more aligned with my true creative self all the time. Part of the thrill of writing this newsletter is knowing I will be able to share and trade ideas with like-minded
people as well as people who have a completely different angle and take.
Your music is only one medium for your deeper message. Don’t mistake the medium for the message. When you put the music in front of your true message, you are going to be out of alignment. Lets say you want to contribute to a peaceful world. You can certainly do this through music by offer something positive and
healing for the soul. You could also get your message across from writing a blog sharing your ideas, creating art that expresses joy and peaceful living, you could create a boardgame that teaches people to be more tolerant of eachother. You could make a movie…
Do you understand where i am going with this?
If you find your truth first, you will have an opportunity to express yourself in many forms and find which one works best for you. I find that I become highly motivated by teaching others how to express themselves creatively. This in turn inspires my own music and also keeps me focused on who I am and what I would like to express.
I don’t want anyone to think that you have to sound like Enya (nothing against her) in order to be in alignment with your art or that you have to somehow be boring. All forms of music can have a positive impact if the energy behind it is coming from a place of truth. Create without asking permission and you may find your truth faster than you think. If what you are doing consistently makes you feel good then you are on the right path.
Another thing to look at is whether you are making music as a way to contribute to society or as a way to extract from society the things you want (Money, Fame, Sex..etc). If there isn’t truth in your work, chances are you aren’t creating from a place of truth and contribution and instead in the mindset of ” I better get mine before they get theirs because there is not enough to go around”.
If you aren’t sure if you are being true to yourself, look at your results. Results will show up as you become more aligned with what you are doing. I’m not talking about strictly material results. I am also talking about your friendships, relationships, health and overall well being.
Maybe you are in a rock band and playing some shows and getting paid decently but you truly are interested in playing jazz but afraid you just couldn’t make a living doing it. Wouldn’t it make sense to take baby steps toward your true passion? The more time you spend right now doing what you love, the less any of the things you think you want will matter much to you. From my experience, the more I stick to my guns and stay true to myself, the more all the other things fall into place (fullfilment, finances, recognition etc).
If you aren’t sure what direction would be best aligned for you Steve offers a fantastic and simple approach (among many many great tips). Try something new for 30 days consistently and see how you feel at the end of it. This could be a commitment to writing music for an hour a day without any agenda on style or format. Perhaps you want to try a particular style of music, so you devote 30 days to exploring it fully and take note of your results. Perhaps you may feel that trying a new eating habit will boost your creative energy, or getting out in nature everyday. Whatever it is, the 30 day trial will give you some insight about yourself you may not have previously known.
I highly recommend you read Steve Pavlina’s book as I feel it is one of the best personal growth books written. What I like most about it is that the one formula he lays out can be applied to any aspect of your life. He gives some amazing tips that I have found truly make a difference in both my creative and personal life. The only requirement is too keep your mind open and read with the attitude of “hmm… that’s interesting, maybe I should try that and see if it works for me or not”.
Another great thing about Steve’s book is that he is quite human and humble Throughout the pages discussing his addiction to stealing which landed him in jail at a young age. He even talks about the steps in his own book that he has struggled with and still finds it challenging at times. I think if more people adapted Steve’s mindset we would have many more people creating and contributing from the heart.
Here are links to Steve’s Blog and Steve’s Book
Until next time,
Happy Music Making,
Thank you so much for this post! Truly enlightening!
This was an excellent article and I’m concidering getting the book. Thanks again Jason.
Awesome Blog as usual. nice one
As someone who has been touched deeply by music and has spent most of my life involved with music creation and performance, everything you wrote about resonates with my experiences. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Jason.
thanks a lot for this, keep in touch!
Very well written, and I agree!