So there's this blog I've been wanting to do for some time now, but I didn't feel as though I could really do it justice. Something like 2-3 years ago, I had the chance to read Do You!: 12 Laws to Access The Power In You To Achieve Happiness And Success by Russell Simmons. From time to time I've touched on some of the principles he outlined in the book, but I really wanted to delve into each one of the laws and give them their proper due. I wish I could give copies of this book as gifts (and now that's it's in paperback, I might do just that) to people I believe would be receptive to the ideas Russell puts forth. So without further ado, let's make this the first blog in what will be a 12-blog Series.
LAW NUMBER ONE: See Your Vision And Stick With It
"I dream my painting, and paint my dream." -Vincent Van Gogh
"Degrees are helpful, but they won't guarantee you success in the business world. Only faith and dedication to your vision can do that." -Russell Simmons
There's a funny practice in the music business that I see repeated over and over again. Guys who work with major labels take meetings with certain acts, and they have to document these meetings, but many go out of their way to mention with certain acts "We never met." It's hard to determine what will work and what won't, there's lots of success stories that still have me scratching my head, and A&R don't want to be the guy that took the meeting with Artist X and decided not to sign them when they go on to humongous success with a competitor. Anita Baker, a legendary soul singer (in my opinion) and a very unique voice was told by a group of suits that she could not sing, and should explore other options in entertainment. Every time I hear "Sweet Love", I just shake my head and wonder exactly what these guys could have been thinking? Maybe they had another artist in mind? Who knows? Either way, when it comes to Ms. Baker, they couldn't have been further off the mark.
Russell states that "...visions are actually God's way of communicating with us." This is a perspective shared across religions. In Proverbs, it says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." In Islam, Muhammed didn't sit down and write the Koran- he received it in a vision. Many sports stars talk about visualizing what they intend to do when they are on the court: They see themselves receiving the ball, moving it down court or down field, making that shot, making that throw, throwing that punch, whatever their discipline. Until they see themselves doing it, it can't be done.
J.K. Rowling, self-made billionaire author, said the idea of Harry Potter came to her while she was on a bus. She just got the idea of a boy who finds out he's a wizard, she saw Hogwarts, she saw the teachers and the things they would learn at the school, and she couldn't wait to get somewhere to write down what she saw. She felt like this story was the story she was born to write. In her interview with Oprah, she was asked when she felt like or when she knew she was on to something. She said that she realized "Getting it published would be the hard part, but if [she] could get it published, it would be huge." She faced rejection after rejection until she finally came across a publisher who shared her vision. That vision is now printed in multiple countries and multiple languages, it's been made into movies that have grossed billions worldwide, and now has a theme park.
"Anything worthwhile is going to take time to manifest itself. And a lot of perseverance."
Thomas Edison was interviewed and asked how he felt about the fact that it took him 10,000 tries (or failures) to create the electric lightbulb. His reply was "I don't feel like they are failures, I feel as though I found 9,999 ways NOT to invent the lightbulb." This is very close to my own perspective that I cultivated from Tupac. His version goes: "If you die trying to do something, you never really failed." Sticking to your vision is not an easy thing.
First, harness your vision. When you find a vision you find yourself feeling very passionate about, that's the one you need to go after. Freeze your vision, you must freeze a powerful vision in your mind immediately. If you're a writer like me, commit a few notes to paper or a digital file, label it with something descriptive so you can come back to it later. It's lightning in a bottle, folks. You have to catch it when you feel it.
Be clear in your vision, don't make it so lofty that the average person can't see it, or fill it with so many ideas it overshadows your original concept. Clarity and confidence. When you have a good idea, you will know it. People love to be around someone who is crystal clear in their future.
Which brings us to my final point: Share your vision. Be excited about it. Don't be afraid to expose your idea to the light of day. Yes, there will be detractors, but look at them as a counter-balance to your enthusiasm. Don't let the fear of criticism distract you. Look to rabbis. Russell describes them as spiritual advisors, people who speak to your spirit in a motivational way. Dreams are singular visions that can be contagious in the right circle. There's more on that later, but you can't reach that point if you aren't willing to share. I'm excited about my book because I have good friends who share in my excitement and offer opinions. I take the advice of those who genuinely want me to succeed, and I implore them to be honest.
So share your visions with me in the comments, or tell me what you think about mine. If you've had a chance to get the book, lets talk about your own motivations. Our imaginations are our connections with the universe and with one another...
-ere'bodee's favorite mega, blogninja