I’ve been doing a lot of reading as of late, and a quote seriously caught my attention… It’s from a book called Overachievement, by John Eliot. He states; “To be a top performer, you have to be passionately committed to what you’re doing, and insanely confident about your ability to pull it off”. This isn’t any kind of new, revolutionary information. But what came up for me after I read that was, wow, the relevance of that statement in today’s market as a performer couldn’t be more true.
Now, let me jump a bit to the dark side of this equation first. (A habit I watch closely, and only try to use to drive home a bigger point) It would be seriously naive to believe that all of our supposed “top” performers out there reached that plateau through a passionately committed drive to excellence. Let’s face it; Disney can “create” what might be considered a top performer in a heartbeat, and more power to the individual for their success. My feelings are that we are seeing that phenomenon happen quite a bit more over the last few decades, at least more than I remember in my earlier years in the business. And for some, that can be disheartening. It could be easy to slip into a “what’s the point” kind of mindset as far as hard work goes to those questioning what it takes as far as their career possibilities are concerned. Well, “here’s” the point… (On to the positive).
Let me leave the realm of those involved in the musical side of the arts to make a stellar point. Steve Jobs, the main man at Apple Inc. had this to say about being passionate about your involvement with “what you do”. He made the point that anything you go after in life with a sense of commitment is going to be a ton of work, and if you’re not “passionate” about it, odds are you won’t stick with it in the long run because of the amount of work involved. You’ll lose interest. That statement alone, coming from a seriously successful entrepreneur, speaks volumes, and is the “point” that I’m referring to. Your ability to evolve as an artist, to passionately put that extraordinary amount of effort into that quest to be successful (by the way, successful “is” subjective) is the foundation for your reasoning to pursue it…because your passion will give you that ability to stick with it. It seems we live in kind of a “quick fix” mentality for most these days, (Disney fame…American Idol), but longevity is only attained through this impassioned state Steve Jobs is referring to. I will spare you quotes from numerous musical icons that also are in full agreement with the Jobs perspective.
Bottom line, don’t look at the “times”, look at your needs as an individual, as an artist, and let that be the backbone of your required involvement, your personal pursuits, both musically and beyond. There’s your quest. Remember, a personal philosophy is only as good as how much you exercise it.