Words can be a powerful device. They can be used to inspire us, motivate us, teach us, and scare us. In essence, the way we interpret the things we read and hear can effect our actions and beliefs. I constantly find myself in need of motivation which is why I surround myself with numerous quotes or mantras. We tend to grow up hearing different things from our families and upbringing that shape us into the people we are. What really matters is, “what do you respond that helps you achieve your goals?”. You may have noticed that I have a message, (or theme), to every one of my BD Updates segments, which gives me drive to follow through with my actions. Again, I am always hearing and creating new quotes that motivate me, but I thought I would share a few that have been helping me the most as of lately.
"Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes"
I’ve been hearing this for a while, and it can be used in a multitude of contexts. I apply this most when I’m referring to the weaknesses in my playing. “Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes” - Meaning I will continue to have certain deficiencies in my playing, if I always ignore them. One thing that helps keep me honest with my practice and playing is writing down my strengths and weakness in the different zones of a target, via one Tom Hooten’s practice tools. I keep this sheet on my stand for every practice session with my weaknesses staring at me from the outside corners of the page. We often know what things need to get done in order to improve or to at least see change, but if we don’t say it, hear it, or see it written in front of us, it can remain a secret. By looking at my strengths, I can visualize where my attention doesn’t need to be in order to focus where it does. After looking at it enough, I can proudly say that my Carmen excerpt has gotten better! Although we don’t like sounding bad or admitting our faults, it’s actually quite a relief knowing that if we spend time addressing the things we want changed, it’ll be better than it was before.
"It’s More Fun When You Earn It"
This is also the name of my BD Updates segment from August 12, 2018. I received this as a text response from my friend Ryan Adamsons after I congratulated him and Santa Clara Vanguard on their World Class win. It’s no doubt that all DCI participants and staff work tirelessly all year, and SCV is certainly among them. After seeing the words “Thanks! It’s more fun when you earn it” on my phone, it really put into perspective what hard work can get you, and what it’s ultimately about. I have put time and effort into many aspects of my career (lessons, auditions, practice, concerts, projects, etc.) which have had varying levels of both success and “failure”. Remembering that it’ll be more fun when I earn it excites me to continue working. It has also taught me that work put in = results. I have more control over the work that gets put in rather than the results, but I stand a good chance of better results, if the work load matches it. When I’m tired, frustrated, and feel like quitting, I can always remember that “It’ll be more fun when I earn it.”
"Who Are You Going To Be Today; One Of The Many People That Think And Say What They Want To Do, Or One Of The Few That Actually Do It?"
This is something I remind myself every day. I believe that we are all capable of having great ideas and wonderful aspirations, but it takes something much more to see them through. While I’ve had follow through with some of my ideas, (Fredericksburg Brass Institute, Tidewater Brass Institute, The Entrepreneurial Student, these blog posts, etc.) there are still many more that have yet to come into existence. I hope that this not the case forever, but it’s proof that I fall victim to this just as much as anyone else. In the book “Tribes” by Seth Godin, he discusses that everyone has the potential to be leader, to create, and to make change, but it takes will to do it; will that is often suppressed by fear. Even if we do have the will, that doesn’t mean the fear is gone. What it does mean however is that the fear gets drowned out by the story of success. “We must lay out a game plan that makes the fear obsolete.” I was flattered during my interview with Andrew Hitz on Episode 142 of “The Entrepreneurial Musician”, where he credits me for being of few people that follow through with their ideas. I wouldn’t say that it is easy to follow through, but I had no idea that it was considered rare. Many people think, all people dream, few people do.
I encourage everyone to seek out these mantras, or better yet, create your own. Say them, repeat them, share them so that others may also benefit in your positive vibes and motivation. We are capable of achieving great things. Sometimes it just takes hearing it to believe it.
If you have any of your own quotes, sayings, teaching philosophies, or mantras that help motivate and shape who you, please feel free to share them!