Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sometimes You NEED to Give Up...

Being a successful musician is all about giving up.  Yep, you read that right... it's all about giving up.

To be a successful musician, or success in anything for that matter, one must give up there following (amongst other things...):

1.  Fear.  Becoming a success requires giving up on any fear you may feel and embracing the faith you have in yourself and your goals.  Fear isn't real anyway, right?  Thus, why do we allow it into our lives... Why do we allow a useless and imaginary emotion to rule over any space in our minds?  I am in no way claiming to be perfect with letting go of my internal fear, though I am monumentally better.  I have the made the decision that when fear begins to creep in to recognize and simultaneously dismiss its presence.  In the words of Will Smith's After Earth character,

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity... Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.”

2.  Wasting Time.  Becoming a success requires giving up wasting time.  It's not so much giving up TIME itself - it's putting it to better use.  It's removing the choices that waste our time.  You have to give up some of those wasted nights of Netflix and chill, or nights sitting around with friends at a party.  You can have those nights, just few and far between if you want to be truly successful.

3. Worry.  Becoming a success requires giving up the habit of worrying.  There's a quote I love to tell my students (and self) by Walt Disney that says,

"Why worry?  If you've done the very best you can, worrying won't make it any better."  

You have to put in the work and let the universe do its work... There's an amount of trust in self, others, God, the universe, etc. that is required in giving up worry, and that can be difficult.  However, it can be done.  Another quote regarding worry, which recently struck me is from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  One of the main characters states,

"Worrying is just suffering twice."  

Instantly I understood that worrying goes back to wasting time and energy... It dozens't solve the problem, just makes you live inside of it... no one that miserable can be successful.

4.  Laziness.  Becoming a success requires giving up on laziness.  You have to put in the hard work and energy to become successful.  Success doesn't just fall into one's lap, even if they're naturally good at things. Kevin Durant once said,

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."  

Imagine if someone WAS amazing naturally at something - sports, singing, math - and they ALSO put in the hard work to be successful and advanced in that skill set... They would be incredible.  This wasn't something I learned until later in life, and I wish I had learned it sooner.  I was naturally good at things as a kid - almost always got the solo in a song, the part in a play I wanted, and made the teams I tried-out for during middle and high school.  I was also naturally good in school at most subjects... aside from chemistry.  It was a blessed curse, because I could skim by most of the time and still defeat those around me... kinda cool, but when I was pushed later, I collapsed into myself.

I've never been a "lazy" person by any means, but I learned the true meaning of HARD work in college and past, and I'm grateful I didn't completely give-up on myself.  However, I gave up on goals for a few years because I was terrified of failure...  See how these all tie together?  Fear means wasting time from worry, creating a lazy pattern and bleeding into my final point... 

5.  Negativity.  Becoming a success requires giving up on negativity.  Your mind is SO powerful... You truly become what you determine you want to become.  Your thoughts drive your actions, which develop your life into the playground you'll live on.

"Whether you think you can or you can not, you are right." - Henry Ford

The mind is SO powerful... 

If you have negative self-beliefs, they hold you back from reaching your full potential... If you have negative attitudes about outcomes, people, places, etc. those attitudes can hold you back from not only enjoyment of the moment, but connecting to others or the process before you.  If you have negative friends, it affects your relationships to them, others, and self.  If you have negative self-beliefs those can be projected on to others and formulate a negative reality... Switch it up!  Turn those negative thoughts around and realize all you're blessed with and blessed to be.  We have an amazing world around us and incredible potential inside of us... use both and think about what could GO RIGHT, and not what could go wrong.  BELIEVE.

There are probably a lot of other things you have to give up to be successful - in fact, this article tells 13 pretty great things to give up, but I found it post writing these out when searching for the picture below:


Also, these five listed are the main things that come to my mind in reaching success.  I have a long way to go until I am where I want to be career-wise, musically, financially, body/health-wise, and in my all abilities, however, I feel like as I have been learning to give these things away in more and more areas of my life, I am happier and healthier, which is the first step to calling my life a success.  We are all meant for amazing things and success, even if it genuinely look different for each person... we are meant for greatness, so believe in that and give up on certain things to give room for all you need to gain.

I leave you with this quote, which may appear oxymoronical, but I assure you contributes to the article:

What will you GAIN from giving up?

Song of the Day: I've recently become obsessed with the musical Dear Evan Hansen, as half of America has done, and there are many stand out songs from that show.  To choose just one... I think the current one I'm in awe of, if I have to choose one, is "You Will Be Found," featuring Ben Platt.   We have ALL felt like what he is describing, but he's right - you'll be found.  Check it out... :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Phoenix

A few months ago, I made a change to my body that many of my friends became vocal about - for better or for worse.  I got inked.

For the most part, friends have been overwhelmingly supportive of me making this decision for myself, esp. as they recognize the time and energy that went into choosing the specific design, the colors, the style, the shop, the artist... It was all with an intent to be highly symbolic and therefore, needed to be specific.

I've wanted to get a Phoenix tattoo since last Fall.  2015 was a pretty difficult year for me, and in all honesty, the last few years have been hugely life-changing with many directional switches.  In late 2013 I began lifting and clean eating.  I began to switch my body's routines and the way I looked at overall health.  From that choice, the other parts of my body began to show their issues.  In two years time I had completed four major surgeries - gallbladder, knee, shoulder, and ending with brain. Additionally, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease in March of 2015.  Brain surgery was perhaps one of the most difficult surgeries for many around me, and yet the easiest for me... I knew when they found the aneurysm it would probably equal a surgery, and instead of fear, for the first time I fully embraced TRUST.  It probably helped that I had been through the other three surgeries, so perhaps they were blessings in disguise.  I just KNEW Heavenly Father was going to take care of me... I knew I was suppose to do the surgery, and I knew God wasn't done with me here on earth.  I knew I was going to be okay.

Some know this story... About 10 minutes before the surgery happened the doctor came in and told me he needed me to sign an extra paper.  My brain was shaped differently than any other brain he had worked on in his 17 (I think that was the number...) years practicing and he wasn't sure how the procedure would react with my brain.  It could mean another surgery, or even more severe issues (like paralyzed limbs) if it went poorly... or everything could be fine.  I signed without a second thought and when asked how it was so easy or didn't I want to think about it, I said I already knew what the right choice was for me.  I had prayed about it and God had been clear... This was the surgery I needed to become the healthiest and happiest me.  Six months later at the post-op check-in, I was cleared of any sign there had been an aneurysm.  I know I am meant to share that story and encourage others to fully trust in their Lord even when scared or unsure as to what will happen.  It's also often a much needed reminder for me....

I wish I could say this was all the tattoo was about, however, there are SO many other things that happened during that year, and some of them I'm not ready to share publicly... some I'm just become brave enough to talk about out loud.  A few weeks after my brain surgery, I had an incident where I was sexually assaulted.  I have a hard time saying rape, and sexual assault feels safer... even though the incident itself wasn't safe.  Weird how our brain thinks the way it does - almost self-preserves and protects you emotionally.  However, sometimes, I believe my brain OVER does this protection...  and I'm just now in life learning the power of letting it out.  I experienced rape, and it was terrifying, traumatic, a little devastating, and demoralizing.  I felt guilty - you'll never understand fully, but you question over and over again if it really IS your fault... and if this means you're a weak person.  After the experience, you question your worth, your independence, your intelligence, your gut... you question EVERYTHING. 

It's awful, and it's really hard to come back from... but completely do-able. It just takes a little emotional and spiritual rebuild.

Each experience of 2015 made me stronger and forced me to rebuild.  I am not the person I was these few short years ago, and though I am grateful for the changes and new strength, I can not deny the happenings in life did indeed burn me and cause need for rebirth.  Thus, the need for my phoenix.

"From the ash I am born again, forever safe in the Savior's hand..."

I feel like through some choices, and some happenings, I was burned.  I was buried in my ash.  I was, indeed, reborn.  THAT is why I choose the phoenix.  It stands as a permanent reminder that I CAN do hard things... that I have the ability to make it thorough anything.

We joke, "If Britney Spears could survive 2007, I can survive anything."  I'm here in all seriousness to say, if I can survive 2015, I can survive and do anything... and so can you.

Song of the Day: "Alive" by Hillsong United... singing it in church on the 19th and a little bit of my inspiration for today's post. :)