Tag Archives: artist

Learning The Careful Dance Between Emotions And Logic

Graphic by Psychologymd

Graphic by Psychologymd

It can be hard to know whether you give your emotions or your logic more power.

How often do you make decisions that, in hindsight, were led more by what you felt in the moment than what made sense in the grand scheme of things? Do you find yourself led more by your emotions or your logic?

I’m guilty of allowing my emotions to steer my direction. It’s human nature.

Over a cup of coffee with a good friend last week, this subject became a little more discernible, and understanding that there is a careful dance we do between these two seemingly different decision-making tools can determine a lot about the direction we’re headed and the progress we make in reaching our goals.

I’m a pretty emotional person, particularly when it comes to loyalty and relationships. I’m very passionate about people I like, and when I get a strong feeling about someone, sometimes I ignore what my mind might say and listen only to the feelings. Sometimes this is a good thing. I’ve had friends that have been incredibly beneficial to me, though their look or social crowd was a bit too dangerous for some of my other relationships. That didn’t matter, I liked them and we got along just fine.

Sometimes the emotions-over-logic is not a good thing, like choosing to dislike a school based entirely on the behaviors of one person. For instance, I honestly don’t like Texas A&M the school (or the football team in particular) based solely on my dislike for Johnny Manziel. Everything about that guy’s attitude, behavior, and social philosophies disagrees with both my logic and emotions. To be curt: I can’t stand the dude.

Yes, emotions run high for me when it comes to some things (football in particular).

And yes, it’s also a problem that I allow someone’s behavior to determine how I feel about a brand he’s associated with. It’s wrong, I know it. But I feel……

I have a lot of good friends who went to A&M. I don’t dislike them for their college, but I do dislike the school all because of one individual’s behavior.

That’s really flawed on my part.

Emotions can be a detriment to positive decision making

Let me take it a step closer to home for you. Think about the last time you bought something. Did your brain tell you that you needed it and it would serve a purpose that benefited you, or did your emotions tell you that you wanted it and had to have it? Whether you were in a store or clicked on a link to a website, once you paid the bill it was done. Either your emotions or your logic won out.

Sometimes emotions and logic will come together in a very close, passionate slow dance where both elements are on the same page. When this happens, decision-making is really fluid and beneficial to you. Usually these are really big-picture choices. For me, marrying Mrs. Smith and buying a house in the country that needed a lot of work was both an emotional and logical decision. Choosing to set out on my own as a self-employed person in my 30s and leave the 9-to-5 world was a choice made with both emotion and logic.

Big picture decisions need both of those players in the mix to be best for the short and long term success

However, that’s a careful dance to learn because usually it’s much easier to listen to our emotions than it is our minds. Our emotions give us feelings that we either want to experience again and again or run like hell away from. Unless we’re really in tune with the logical part of ourselves, the brain doesn’t have the same negotiating power that our feelings do.

Usually we realize this after the fact when it comes to buying something, when what we bought either didn’t fulfill the emotional appeal or if we don’t see the big results that were promised to us.

Has that happened to you too?

I talk a lot about embracing the process and not going for the shortcut routes that are presented to us to achieve the goals we set. I’m honestly guilty of doing it too at times, unless I check myself. This is something I’m still learning and processing through just like you are.

Have you invested in something to grow your project, music, business, or similar this year? Was the desire to be able to overcome big obstacles by “buying in” to a product what led you to make the decision? I have a few times this year. To be very transparent with you, I’ve invested in a few different products this year to make me better at what I do as a coach, teacher, leader, and service provider. Some of these investments have paid a good return in both results and in improving my abilities. Some of them were just crocks.

The feeling of having spent $$$ on a crock sucks. Often it outweighs the positives that come from having picked a winner, at least with how we feel. Winning feels great. Yet when emotions are at play with the crocks, those feelings can outshine the positives that logic might be trying to communicate.

Putting the dance moves into play this month

It’s Christmas season, which means you are probably in shopping mode for your friends and family. We’ve made a choice in the Smith clan to not go hog-wild over Christmas present buying, and instead find new ways to show our love for those closest to us this holiday season. We’re wanting to showcase our emotions for those we love, and do it in a way that benefits both parties. There’s a careful dance there. Fortunately for me, Mrs. Smith is the best DIY person on earth and what she cooks up for gifts is always a winner.

This is a time of year when emotions run high, not always in a good way. It’s what makes the night-time news for people to have fistfights over a toy at a store that is 65% off and supplies are running out. There’s no logic in doing something like that, not if anything other than a selfish play is at hand. Being mindful of this during the Christmas holidays takes vigilance, but it’s something you and I can both do.

I’m looking closer at what fuels our decision-making, and noticing this dance more and more. For me to reach the goals I have set in this coming new year, I can’t ignore one for the other, choosing logic over emotions every time or vice versa. There has to be a balance. I’m still learning what that balance involves and how to do it better.

Christmas with Brody (my photogenic male cat)

Christmas with Brody (my photogenic male cat)

Those who excel at this balance between feelings (emotions) and mindfulness (logic) are also those who have profound levels of wisdom. Knowledge may produce power, but wisdom brings peace.

What about you? Is this something you have struggled with too or are looking back on 2015 and wondering what led to some of the decisions you’ve made, particularly buying ones? Share your story with me in the comments and let’s talk.

 

 

 

Is Real Success In Building A Community Or An Empire

Harmony Or ControlWhich would you rather build, a community OR an empire?

Essentially that’s the distinction you have to determine as you set out to build anything, be it your own business or enterprise, your artistic/musical endeavor, entrepreneurial platform, nonprofit organization or a location of existence (be it church, city council, group, or place of residence).

Yes, even nonprofits and churches can build empires, or attempt to do so. It’s all a matter of your attitude and perspective.

To know whether you are building an empire or building a community, let’s look at the characteristics of what each have, how they operate, and what the end results of each are. Determine for yourself which of the two you have established and operate in, and (more importantly) which end result you truly want.

Separating Communities From Empires

Communities put others first and seek harmony for the collective involved. Empires put one person above everyone else, usually whoever is at the head, who has all authority and control. Control is the highest value in an empire.

Communities are established to create peace among people of different backgrounds, needs, and interests but with a common location, belief, and mission. Empires are established to create caste systems, one set winners and the other losers, or one group perpetually fortunate and the other perpetually with loss.

Communities thrive on harmony. Everyone benefits each other, or at the very least works together to achieve benefits for both individuals and groups within the community.

Empires are the opposite, they thrive on tyranny. Everyone sacrifices to serve and benefit only one (person or elite group). Caste systems and the extreme spectrum of wealth-to-poverty are prevalent in empires because of the “Us vs Them” culture.

Empires create conflict and war out of self-preservation and self-interest. Control has the highest value in an empire, and must be pushed to the furthest boundaries to prolong its legacy.

Communities create opportunities for others to be included and shield themselves only against hate, leaving prolonged conflict outside the gates.

Confrontation is done to the betterment of everyone within a community because tension and imbalance require an addressing of issues for resolution, understanding and peace. Even in difficult circumstances or situations, confrontation can be done in a way that still leaves all parties feeling understood and doesn’t excommunicate individuals from the group unless absolutely necessary for the operation of the whole gathering.

15338308235_014a57c693_zEmpires treat confrontation as acts or declarations of war, with hostility being the main emotion that drives how confrontation is made. The only end result that can happen when empires confront other groups is increased tension and loss to one side. Rarely does peace for all parties come at the hands of an empire confronting another group or entity.

It’s seductive to want to be a part of an empire, but mostly from the vantage point of what leading an empire would present you in terms of power. However, to be on the opposite end of power in an empire is similar to what it is like to be a slave, with no rights or voice, completely at the mercy of whatever power is over you.

Communities don’t create slaves, instead they foster participants and members. Interaction within a community is voluntary, and therefore more engaging and appreciative.

Empires don’t see individuals. They only see masses, and therefore assume that the whole has only one voice, opinion, way of living, and belief system. Racism at its core is driven by an empirical mantra that groups all people into one category and judges them accordingly. This is an extreme example of empiricism that we (unfortunately) still experience far too often.

Communities see individuals and value the unique characteristics of each person as someone who brings something special to the gathering, offering a new way to move everyone forward.

Building a community is no easy task, but being a part of a healthy community is far more appealing than being caught up in the agenda of an empire. Which would you rather be a part of?

As you build your entity, be that a following around your music or an entrepreneurial business, keep in mind which of these mantras is determining your course, whether you are becoming more of an emperor in how you lead or a community builder who sees people for what they can do for others as well as for you. And see what you can do for them. This is harmony lived out loud.

What Seinfeld Teaches Us About Super-Fans

SeinfeldSupermanJerry Seinfeld is quite a character. The stand-up comedic icon who changed network TV success with “a show about nothing” has also pioneered another brand of media stardom: the online video platform.

Seinfeld’s hit Crackle series Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee has not only put him back on many people’s radar, but it’s also one of the most watched video channels in an age dominated by subscription services like Netflix and Hulu.

Jerry knows quite a bit about the DIY route of carving your own unique path, very similar to what artists and entrepreneurs do with their craft. While he may be a prominent entertainment figure, Seinfeld started from the ground up in New York, working comedy clubs until he made it with features on late night TV shows, leading up to his monumental network show Seinfeld.

The new online series showcases some of America’s greatest entertainers and comedians, and does so in a new light. Instead of illustrating their latest project, movie, tour or book, the whole episode is geared towards shining a light on personal communication and interaction. Jerry and his guest drive around in a car (usually a historic or premium vehicle) and chat about the current state of comedy, the country, and some of their pet peeves. Then they go get coffee. If anything, the series is a subliminal ad for coffee with nicely done cutaways that should make you want a cup of Joe at some point in the episode.

This is Super-Fan-dom at its best. Seinfeld isn’t just a comedian who has found success. He’s a student of the game, and his studies involve sitting down with others to find what makes them tick, what brings a laugh out of them. Most of the conversations and interactions are enlightening in some capacity, with standouts including Kevin Hart, Alec Baldwin, Jon Stewart, and Amy Schumer of the latest season. Seriously, you need to watch this series for more than just a good laugh. Jerry is a comedy super-fan and his interest in the field is a part of everything he does.

There are plenty of things we as artists, entrepreneurs, and even coaches can learn from one of the world’s most humorous people. What shouldn’t go unnoticed is the power of Jerry as a super-fan, not just an entertainer.

Fans and viewers of Seinfeld the show have to acknowledge the strategic placement of one particular fictional icon in each episode: Superman. It’s no secret that Seinfeld has a bit of a man-crush on the world’s first comic book hero. He also did a brief series of web ads for American Express featuring a cartoon version of Superman that was voiced by Patrick Warburton (David Putty in Seinfeld).

The point of illustrating the power of a Seinfeld super-fandom is to illustrate how the super-fan mind works. A super-fan will incorporate the work, creation, imagery, and representation of the ones they are following into their personal and professional work. Their love and super-fan following becomes a part of who they are, what they are drawn to. Showcasing that love and appreciation is just a way for them to celebrate life.

Who wouldn’t want one of entertainment’s greatest stars to be so in love with their work that they showcase it in some form or fashion in a product that is beloved and known the world over? This is the connection that can be made by nurturing a core group of your audience base. Their support of your work isn’t something you ask of them, it’s something they do on their own accord.

Everyone benefits from this kind of support.

Right Attitude Is Key To Success in Music

Is money the key to building a successful enterprise in the music industry? According to some people’s attitude, that’s all you need to rise above the noise and prevent impending failure. However, it’s so far from the truth that it’s truly tragic some people not only believe it, but it captures their feelings on what composes success. Conversely, having the right attitude is the perfect key you need for success.

This goes without saying but I’ve seen and experienced it WAY too many times to name. Even recently, I had a long conversation with a guy on one of my social channels who had a really terrible attitude all the way through about his current state of business. He works in radio, has a station with (I presume) a decent audience size, but no matter what ideas or options we talked about, the prognosis in his mind was that the situation was hopeless because he had no money.

Blog-AttitudeI understand that. It’s really hard to get started doing anything, regardless of your market or industry, and even regardless of the experience you bring to the table or your personal connections to help you. Getting traction is really difficult. Musicians especially face an uphill battle going from completely unknown to known because there are SO many people making music, and the industry is BRIMMING with talent. However, despite all the competition and noise, it is possible to be heard and to make money with your product.

But failure to have the right attitude about this possibility (nay I say even chance), and you destin yourself to the fate you’ve chosen: failure.

Attitude is everything. Want more proof: read the so-called secrets or insights from some of history’s most successful people. i didn’t say the music industry’s most successful people or even business leaders most successful individuals. I said History. If the name Dale Carnegie doesn’t mean anything to you, you need to visit a library and at least read the description of How To Win Friends And Influence People (should be considered mandatory reading for anyone trying to make money outside of a corporate employer and even those people). His other big book is How To Stop Worrying And Start Living. All of his books, written in the early 1900s, correspond to the same theme: your thoughts and attitudes determine the reality you live in.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

I’ll name just a few other highly successful people in business and entertainment who have the exact same philosophy and have risen from poverty and the complete unknown to fame, wealth, and/or international notoriety. These individuals are Oprah Winfrey, Grant Cardone, Will Smith, Seth Godin, Michael Hyatt, Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman, and others. Each of these folks are world-renowned in their industries and have overcome tremendous obstacles on the path to success. What do they all have in common: a positive attitude.

Staying positive despite what challenges present themselves in your pathway is certainly not easy, which is why is it so uncommon. The easy option is to wallow in your sorrows, accept the thoughts that success will always elude you, and close your mind off to possibilities for improvement. This is common. Apart for what seems like the universe not favoring this attitude is the fact that people you are associated with don’t favor it either. You probably know a few people who see the glass as either half-empty or never having a drop in it, regardless of what is going on in their world. After a few conversations, these people will make you feel terrible about the world you know and become a huge drag on your emotions. Most of the time, you find yourself consciously and subconsciously avoiding them.

Consequently, if you adopt a similar attitude of failure, people will avoid you too. The same people who might be drawn to your music or your unique offering to the world will begin to be repelled by the stink of that bad attitude. A small few might be honest with you about why they are not as supportive as they once were, but most will remain silent. And you’ll be left wondering why.

Avoid this altogether by surrounding yourself with positive thoughts, positive people, uplifting messages and an attitude that good things will happen for you, regardless of what you may be seeing or feeling in the moment. We create the world we live in. This is the power of our thoughts. Want more insight into how to create and cultivate positive thinking, send me an email. I’d love to work with you on how to improve your life just with the power of positive thinking.