Tag Archives: wisdom

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.

 

 

 

How To Know When You’ve Fully Paid Your Dues

morgan-freeman-godHow long does it take to pay your dues?
Ask an actor or theater buff about the art of paying your dues and you will most likely get the same response: You pay your dues for life.

Even the most successful names in the business recognize that the end game is actually retirement. Fame is not the end goal you’re seeking.

Entrepreneurs struggle with this concept too. Small business owners and even icons stop short of fully paying their dues before they should. The result is they have to work harder and dig deeper to make up for lost momentum.

What does it mean for a musician to pay their dues?

I have a few interpretations of this including that you have to be invested in your craft for a period of time and not a rookie or someone starting out. That’s one step of the due-paying process. You need experience in your field, and a resume of sorts to show that you’ve been through some fires, tried and succeeded while also trying and failing. Failure is a great teacher, and also a truer indicator of someone who is going to achieve great things. Failure to face failure and rise again is an indication of someone not truly vested in their journey.

Paying dues can mean several things, but the big picture is overcoming the tragic mindset of “arriving.” That old adage that “Life is a journey, not a destination” applies here. It means you keep working, keep investing in your future and keep honing your craft until you’re completely finished with everything you will do with it.

You pay your dues until the game is fully over.

I’m a fan of Chris Hardwick. I speak for fellow comic-book fans, sci-fi nerds, and others who have been misjudged because of our passions for (at one time) unpopular things in citing Hardwick as a hero. His Nerdist podcast is excellent because he speaks with people from many different walks of life, and the conversations almost always highlight some profound truth that changes the way I think.

One of his archived podcasts was with Morgan Freeman. There’s a million reasons to love Freeman, including his voice and the fact that he has played both God, Nelson Mandela, and Batman’s tech-brain (Lucius Fox) among other notable roles. In the podcast episode (listen here), Chris asked Morgan if he felt like he didn’t have to pay his dues anymore.

Morgan Freeman’s response was incredible. He said, “Nowhere is it written that your career has to ever be stabilized.” [Quote is at 26:29 of the interview and 28:20 is another point added to that; listen to the full interview to get the most out of Freeman’s wisdom]

Morgan Freeman still considers himself to be paying his dues.

Think about that for a minute.

Of all the actors in Hollywood, there are a short list of A-caliber individuals who can get any role, any time, without an audition, and probably command whatever paycheck for their time that they want. Freeman is on that list.

And he still feels that he’s paying his dues. This goes to show you that to be truly great, you never stop giving your all and proving your worth in everything you do.

Here’s the takeaway: You’re not going to finish paying your dues as an artist, musician, actor, entrepreneur, business owner or otherwise until you retire and hang up your gloves permanently. You may reach a level of success where you don’t have to work as hard or as long as you do in your early days, but that’s an attitude decision, not a reality decision.

Mick Jagger (Photo: Marty Melville, Getty Images)

Mick Jagger (Photo: Marty Melville, Getty Images)

When your attitude is to give your best every time, no matter what, you will have success that follows you everywhere. Proof of this is what Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone recently after telling the world that at 72 years old he and the band still want to play a world tour. Jagger said “always play your best show, every time.”

Based on that statement by one of the biggest names in the history of recorded music, telling artists that they still have to perform at their highest level each and every time regardless of how successful they may be is indicative of never fully paying your dues.

If Mick Jagger hasn’t fully paid his dues, none of us have.

What this also means is that we as Due-Payers should be looking for help in all we do where needed, and be humble enough to ask when we realize there’s something we don’t know.

I’m in that boat too, which is why I work with a coach to help me grow, improve, and make myself better.

What is it that you feel like you are still paying dues in, maybe even something you don’t want to still be paying dues in? Let’s talk. Let me know in the comments below.

*Chris Harwick is the author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life). You can buy it via the affiliate link which will benefit both you and me.

Master One Simple Way To Grow Your Fan Base

Image of young businessman taking pleasure in his favourite music in office

What you imagine your fans to do when they listen to your songs. Air guitar.

As musicians, our primary focus is on making music and finding ways to grow our fan base.

As entrepreneurs, our primary focus is on expanding our business and grow our revenue streams.

Other things we need to do to grow are marketing and promotion. We turn to social media like Facebook and Twitter to make this easier.

How to gain the focus we need to succeed

Like you, I get distracted by the amount of other things to do that take my time, energy, focus, and attention. Do you find yourself distracted, especially online on places like Twitter and Facebook? You’re not alone.

While trying to use these platforms to let your fans know about your next gig or product offering, you find yourself swamped with hundreds of videos, pics, and other posts that take your focus away.

What if you had just one little secret that allowed you to get the word out and grow your fan base that didn’t require a ton of time or money?

And what if I told you not just one, but a few different ways to do this, each producing their own degrees of success for you?

Sounds like a winner, so let’s cut to the chase and get you rolling!

I’m all about simplifying how you do things for growth and success. It’s easier to remember when the process is just one or two steps. And when we achieve results in a timely manner, it makes repeating those easy steps even easier to do because you know it works.

Grow your fan base with this one trick on Twitter

Here’s one way to grow your audience today: Go on Twitter and engage with just one or two of your followers. Pick someone you don’t know well and start a conversation with them. You can just ask a question or say hello.

This serves you because it starts a dialogue. Dialogue shows you how your audience engages with what you do. Make the start of your conversation about them, not about  you. Here’s why:

People are more interested in themselves than anyone else. If you want to get someone’s attention, make the focus on them instead of on you.

Here’s an example from a conversation I started on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 12.52.02 PM

A conversation on Twitter gets the person (fan) more engaged with you as a human and not just a musician they happen to follow. Somewhere in the ongoing chat you can mention a song  you have that you want to share with them and send them a link. Or you can ask them a question about the music they’re listening to. Once a conversation is taking place, you have a more receptive avenue to get your music in front of an engaged participant.

That’s one more engaged fan, and all it took was a focused approach instead of a blanket post sent out to no one in particular.

Grow your fan base with this one growth hacking trick with radio

Here’s one more simple way to grow your fan base and have the potential to impact a greater number of people: listen to an indie radio station online who plays music similar to yours.

Give the thing you want to receive. It’s a principle Ghandi promoted.

Spend a little time enjoying their programming and finding something about the station you really enjoy.

Then go to the station’s Contact or About Us page and find the email for the Music Director/Program Manager. Send them an email saying how much you enjoy their programming today, in particular the part you heard that really stood out. You can ask if they accept music submissions or requests and then sign off.

The purpose of this email is two fold. One, you are identifying a radio station that may be a good fit for airplay for you. Second, you’re making a direct contact with a station manager that is not built around just pitching your music. Station managers get unsolicited emails daily from artists they’ve never heard of, all wanting the same thing. The focus of the emails they receive are usually just on the artist and not on the station programming, or how the artist’s music might be a good fit for their programming.

Remember, a station has an interest in serving their audience great content, not just playing music from someone who sends in a few songs. By taking the approach of being interested in the station’s programming (and praising the people who make that happen), you’re appealing more to the interests of the station manager. It makes them more willing and interested in hearing what you have to say.

When you get a reply in your inbox, you know you’ve achieved something, potentially a response that tells you how to make a radio submission. You are now on a more first-name basis with the station manager and have a little more connection to them than just an outsider promoting their own stuff.

Do something taught in the 1930s that has tremendous impact in the modern age

Both of these tactics are organic ways of building connection. In the social media marketing of modern day, where everyone is their own evangelist, it’s uncommon for people to take a genuine interest in others. But when you do the uncommon thing, you stand out so much more than the herd that is all shouting about their latest thing. It’s a similar principle to what Napoleon Hill taught for decades in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.

To master this simple method, all you have to do is repeat it. Try this every day for a week, then for a month. Look back and see how much you’ve gained and how connected your audience is.

Be uncommon. It’s simple to not follow the herd. This way, you avoid stepping in all the crap that gets dropped, and you make out with better connections.

Indie Music Submissions music guide diy musician radio handbookGain more insights into how to communicate with people to get them to take action in my  book The DIY Musicians Radio Handbook. While it may seem like just something for musicians and radio, there is a pervasive theme and philosophy throughout the book that anyone can use to gain better attention with real people. Pick up your copy here.

A Mentor Is Many Great Things

Telemachus_and_Mentor1I asked a group of individuals and  professionals what they think of when they think of a MENTOR. This was their response. None of it is negative. All statements are measures of greatness.

Guidance

Present

Humble

Helper

Support

Liberator

pigeonpoint

Guide

Teacher

Wisdom

Non-Judgemental

Knowledgeable

Compassionate

Sharing

Age-less

Experienced In Overcoming Particular Challenges/Obstacles

A mentor is a great resource on your journey. No matter where you are starting from, or how long you’ve been traveling on your course, having a teacher to guide you along your path will save you time, energy, and necessary resources.

Do you have a mentor who is guiding you through your journey to overcome the challenges and obstacles on your path?