Achievement, success by societal standards, money, food, sex, recognition, relationships, drugs (alcohol, caffeine, tobacco are absolutely drugs in case you think you're "better" than drugs)…these are traps. Yes, there are beautiful versions of all these things and we all at one time or another desire and partake in them. And we should…for the right reasons. Allow me to backtrack to how I arrived at today's philosophical musing and what the point is.
I have completed the first 3 song EP for my new singer/songwriter project The Belief Cycle. PLUG PLUG. I'm in love with it, it's the best thing I've ever done with music and for my emotional and mental health. How did I feel when I listened to it and decided it was complete?
I listened to it 10 times but in the background as I began the next steps of bringing the audio to an eventual release. I took no more than 10 minutes to bask in its glory before moving onto the next project. How could I not have more feelings and celebration about such a monumental achievement in my life? Because the ACHIEVEMENT IS NOT THE REWARD. I'm going to use all my knowledge and resources to give it the best release possible. BUT…PEOPLE LISTENING IS NOT THE REWARD.
The reward is the process. LOVE THE PROCESS, NOT THE RESULTS.
The reward is being the type of person that can enter a flow state daily - a state of being fully engaged in the moment with life and with who you are. When I'm making my music all the desires of the world dissipate and the truest form of myself takes the wheel. That's the reward. It's not if and when the music makes a fan or makes a buck, even though presenting it to people is part of the process. Process over results always. Let me backtrack another layer…
What was my approach to songwriting that lead me to quit and work exclusively on other artists' music for 5 years? "It's too painful and the amount of love I get back is disproportionate." Results over process. "The amount of money and time I put into is nowhere near equal to what I'll get paid back and I can't afford it." Results over process. "My album didn't move as many copies and downloads as I wanted. Why should I bother making another one?" Results over process.
Focus on the process will keep you going and if the process you've devoted yourself to is your true passion, your heart and soul will thrive. Focus on the results and rewards will lead to fun, shallow, temporary and eventually disappointing consequences.
"So now what? If I listen to your advice I become some kind of monk?" No, partake in all of life's riches! Just be cautious that you take these things in as a celebration of a life well-lived and not as the focal point of your living.
What if this post doesn't get likes and comments? I write this stuff anyway but mostly don't share it. Process over results.