Accept and then Act

When experiencing a rough spot in life. When we are confused, frustrated, and discouraged, we need to take the time to recognize how we are feeling and not just push those feelings aside. We need to acknowledge that they exist. But that's not where it ends. We can only acknowledge it for so long before working on it. That's like saying I feel sick, I know why I am sick, but I’m not going to do anything to fix it. At a certain point, we need to stop just feeling the misery, but we need to consciously work through it and continue on with our lives. At what point you ask? I’m guessing it’s different for everyone.

Appreciated or tolerated?

Do those around you merely accept how you are? Or do they delight in how you are? Do they love that you are sensitive and sweet, or is it just okay? Does your enthusiasm invigorate people or overwhelm them? Is your no-nonsense approach refreshing or abrasive? If you are merely tolerated, then comes a tough question to answer: Should I change, or find those who are more aligned with who I am?

Unplugged

Technology has become such a huge part of our lives that we hardly remember life without it. We don’t know what it’s like to go a day without being connected to the world, our friends, and media. Recently I conducted an experiment where I went on vacation and left every technology device at home. I refused to talk on the phone, check my email or be otherwise connected to anyone or anything that was not in my immediate sight. It was a wonderful, restful, happy time.

It’s not feasible to do that consistently, but an occasional unplug from technology can refresh and invigorate. It forces us to entertain ourself, contemplate life, talk to those we are with, and be in the moment.

Les Miserables

The movie Les Miserables was extremely thought provoking.

I was struck by the fact that college boys were so moved by the thought of freedom that they were willing to die for it. These boys were fueling a movement, starting a revolution while in college.

These were mere boys by our standards. Boys who in our world, at this age are generally playing beer pong and sleeping through classes.

It’s not that college boys now aren’t capable of such bravery and resolve, but they haven’t needed to be. A pattern is seen in history where men are strong, and courageous fighting for things they believe in, and then men prosper. Once men prosper they start to become soft, and they become less vigilant in protecting their rights. Then they begin to lose what they worked so hard for (or their parents did). They then have to strengthen themselves, harden their resolve, and fight for what they believe in. This is the cycle.

Our generation of men have the ability to rise to the occasion, to fight with passion and conviction for what they believe in, but they’ve never been tested. So although we have more knowledge at our disposal, more technology and intelligence, we don’t showcase courage the way those men did during the French Revolution because our circumstances don’t force us to.

We should try to break the cycle and remain strong and courageous throughout good and difficult times. This seems like a better idea than just repeating history right?

Good Questions

Questions are important to stimulate conversation and to encourage others to open up. A good question can reveal an answer within the question. It can bring about breakthroughs for people, it can create connection, and it can show your interest in the other person. Some questions to use:

  • What do you love most about what you do?
  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What’s your biggest frustration in your job?
  • What are areas you feel you excel in?
  • What do you do on your commute?

Other good phrases to use

  • How does that look?
  • How does that make you feel?
  • Tell me more about that

What are some questions you have learned to ask?

Performance Mistakes

Here’s a secret. Rarely does a pianist play her piece perfectly. Most often, she makes mistakes, but you can’t hear them. Why? Because she integrates them into the piece. I was told, “if you ever make a blunder and the song calls for you to repeat that section, purposely make that same mistake.” The crowd automatically thinks your wrong notes were an accurate portrayal of the piece.

So never falter. Chances are, those errors will sound just fine within the framework of the piece.

Keep Moving

Music should be like life, it just keeps moving. No matter how many notes you missed; no matter if you completely lost your place, you keep playing. Never stop in the middle of a piece, or go back; push forward. It’s better to hit wrong notes and continue going than to stop and replay the correct notes.

With life, we don’t even have the choice to go back and do things over. So keep looking ahead and focus on moving forward it’s our only option, and the best one at that.

Pretend Your Best

In piano performance, you never dwell on past mistakes. Once you've moved past that botched up section, or that measure where you hit only half the notes, you automatically forget the past, and continue forward with confidence. You never allow the mistakes previously in the piece to affect the rest of it. Seconds after  you stumbled, you forget so completely, it’s like it never happened. At the end of the piece, no matter what, you pretend as though it was your best performance.

Apply this principle to your life, and guaranteed you won't be as paralyzed by your past.

Comfort the Crowd

When you're on stage, confidence is extremely important. If you have any hesitation; if you play or speak cautiously, you put the crowd on edge. The crowd begins to anticipate failures and that creates a tense environment. When you're confident, however, that puts the crowd at ease, and they sit back, comforted that you're in control and that they will experience a great performance.

The Universal Language

Music is a universal language. No matter what your native tongue, a musician can speak to you and say things that you understand without words. You hear emotion within music. You can hear turmoil, sweetness, sadness, longing, excitement. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy music. It speaks to a person differently than words do, but it has a similar affect on the mind, and soul.

It's not you, It's me.....

Excuses are common when people leave a job or a significant other. Rarely does a disgruntled employee or boyfriend give his real reason for leaving. (Unless they have a fiery temper and just want to get revenge by spouting off.)

We all tend to avoid painful or confrontational moments, and it’s all too easy to fabricate some silly reason which everyone knows is illegitimate, to avoid having to address the real issues.

It takes unselfish, objective consideration to gently share what went wrong when you’re already on your way out the door. You won’t benefit from the new policies or the changed attitude, but you are giving your aggravator the opportunity to understand what went wrong and then to (hopefully) not repeat that mistake.

Got Any Ideas?

Ideas come to those who are looking for them. You wonder why there are certain people who always have exciting ideas or a fresh perspective? They have trained their brain to see and analyze situations differently than most. They are constantly searching for new thoughts or breakthroughs. Each conversation, each person is an opportunity to learn or discover something new. You don't have to be a creative personality to think outside the box.

You can uncover valuable gems of wisdom and ideas by approaching life with a slightly different perspective. Ideas are everywhere, they just require a little effort to discover.

Dress for Success

Its important that when interviewing or working somewhere, you dress just a step above everyone else. You should dress for the position you want, not the one you have. When you feel great and you look put together, you send that perception to those around you. People will make assumptions based on how you look. So what assumption do you want them to make? That you are sloppy, or careless? or that you are classy, and professional? Clothing says a lot about a person. Have your clothing reflect who you truly are.

Learn how to study

It’s alright if you don’t know the population of malaysia, or HTML coding. If you understand where to find that information and how to internalize it, then you can succeed. There are endless new skills and ideas so you will constantly be gaining new information for the rest of your life. Knowing how to decipher and implement that knowledge is more valuable than being able to memorize and regurgitate facts. Once you’ve become a good learner, than the abilities and skills you need for any endeavor will come easier.

Fun Fact

Baby Carrots are actually large carrots shaved down. They're the ugly carrots that couldn't be sold. Mike Yurosek came up with the idea to transform these discarded vegetables with a little shaping, and the result was a product that sold more money than the original. Not exactly a groundbreaking idea, but creative, resourceful and worthwhile nevertheless.

About me

  • I've played piano for 11 years and won various competitions. I have played for weddings, funerals, graduation ceremonies and social gatherings. My brief attempt at teaching young children, taught me how much patience is required for that task!
  • As the oldest girl of 9 children, I quickly learned how to take care of a family, and have since acquired talent for efficient cleaning and organizing.
  • My family and I took many trips together all up and down the east coast. Most often these trips were to Florida and Virginia, where we visited historical areas. I learned how to amuse myself and 8 other children for hours with no wiggle room..... many humorous stories and great memories resulted from that!
  • Being home-schooled from elementary through high school, I taught myself for the better part of my education. I learned how to study without the help of a teacher and with no adult direction. I read a lot; Old magazines, history books,and self educating curriculum. Although finding motivation for math and sciences was difficult, I enjoyed and excelled in areas of history, reading and english.
  • I dabbled in random things - ancient Greek, travel soccer, and performing in musicals. I've even attempted tap dancing, and scrap booking!
  • I graduated early, after deciding I would learn more by starting life, instead of just studying it.
  • I then worked as a doctor's assistant where I learned many valuable skills.
  • Throughout this I continued to read extensively and read 50 non-fiction books in one year
  • Now I have transitioned into working as a client manager for a branding and marketing company.

Life is exciting right now, full of new opportunities and challenges all the time. I'm learning, changing, and growing and it's a wonderful experience!