More To That

An illustrated, long-form blog that delves deeper into the things that make us who we are.

The Inner Compass

You may not know this, but I was a professional musician for a number of years.  (If you’re curious, you can check out my Spotify page here.)  In my mid-20s, I was certain that this was the path for me, so I quit my stable finance job after saving up enough to pursue music full-time.

Throughout my time as a musician, I made a lot of beats, but I also found myself doing something that I didn’t anticipate.  Rather than making beats day-in and day-out, I was spending much of my time trying to get my music heard.  I was submitting my music to blogs (this was when the blog era was in full steam), trying to collaborate with popular artists, and finding ways to distribute my work through labels.

To put it simply, I was investing a lot of energy into fulfilling my desire to be validated by others.

The reality is that if I redirected that effort into the music itself, that would’ve increased the chances for it to be heard.  If I took more time to improve the quality of my art, then these improvements would’ve been the gateway to reaching more ears.

However, the reason I didn’t do that was simple: I didn’t believe in myself.  That’s it, really.  Because if I did, then I would’ve put more energy into discovering what my potential was.  I would’ve looked inward and challenged my creative abilities to make something that stretched the boundaries of what I already knew.  But since I didn’t trust my commitment to this craft, I attempted to outsource that commitment to others in the hopes that they would elevate my music for me.

This resulted in a lot of questionable habits that crept in over time.  I was hanging out with folks that weren’t bad, but weren’t the best people either.  I was drinking more than I needed to, perhaps as a way of dealing with my discontentment.  I was dragging myself to the computer to make my beat for the day, doing it more out of obligation than love.

Yet I refused to refer to myself as anything but a musician, primarily because I didn’t know what else I’d be.

There’s nothing more dangerous than believing that your passion is a virtue.  Because when that happens, you’ve deceived yourself into equating your passion with something that’s inherently good, and you’ll neglect the signs that may be showing you otherwise.  In the case of my music, I made the mistake of believing that this was THE way I’d express myself to the world.  That music was what made me a creative person, and that without it, I would cease to be the person I felt like I should be.

But I became increasingly disillusioned with my relationship to the craft, as I couldn’t ignore how I was treating it as a vehicle for external validation rather than as an instrument of inner growth.

And it was here where I embarked on a project that changed many things for me.

If you’re a More To That member, can read the rest of the essay here and discuss it with fellow members.

If you’re not a member, consider joining today.  You’ll get access to exclusive Monday essays, live hangouts, and other community benefits to keep your mind sharp. I’d love to see you inside.

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