When I wanted to be a musician, I listened to 100’s of hours of interviews on Marc Maron’s podcast. When I wasn’t playing music, my mind was absorbing the experiences of other artists.
The theme that I realized amongst all of them was an absolute wilingness to “risk” themselves in pursuit of what they loved.
And not just taking a risk to get on stage, but by being transparent and “real” with their authentic voices.
They expressed how they felt in the music they composed and the lyrics they wrote.
Like Trent Reznor.
He was a janitor at a recording studio. He asked his boss if he could record late at night when the studio was open.
He went in by himself and came out with “Pretty Hate Machine” (his first album). He played every instrument and wrote/sang every lyric. He bled his soul on page and screamed in the vocal booth.
He caught something authentic and, he had the courage to let himself be seen.
He, along with many others, caught a case of the “Fuck It’s”.
They decided to live their life in pursuit of honesty. And not for other people either, but for themselves.
The interesting thing about the process of “becoming” is that the act of honest self-expression positively affects others.
We gravitate towards it. Our senses intuitively seek something honest. We want to receive a semblance of “truth”.
When an emotion, or a thought, is expressed, it relieves us.
It opens our mind to receive answers and guidance. Our brain intuitively recognizes patterns, and our subconscious makes room to receive.
We encounter inspiration.
We take action towards authenticity and then, more ideas come. New discoveries.
The narrative in our head, the story we tell ourselves, is false. It’s never absolutely right. It’s malleable. We can change our perception. (That’s why we love movies. They change our perception for us.) We can adopt new beliefs and move towards the person we want to be.
We are only limited by what we want to believe.
And, we’re all gonna die.
Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or 10 years from now, it doesn’t make a difference.
In the grand scheme of universal existence, from the beginning of cosmic development, to the ever-expanding reach of time, we’re already gone.
Our lives are the most important thing and the only thing that truly matters is how we choose to live right now.
The “act” of living (and I call it an “act” because we could live 100 years without really “living”) starts with perception and proceeds with action.
I spent a lot of time existing and not “actively” living.
My years of drug addiction were an ambivalent escape of what really mattered:
The pursuit of meaning and purpose for my life. A journey towards realizing what I love, and who I want to become.
Honesty and risk.
Those two things have guided , and continue to challenge me, daily. It’s what makes life exciting and my dreams feel attainable.
It’s how Louis CK can sit next to Conan O’Brien and not stress out about his “set”.
He’s kept it real so often, and challenged himself to overcome fear so frequently, that he continues to become a better version of himself.
When a mic is in his hand, he naturally “is” Louis CK. His “set”, and all of his “bits”, are a magnified part of him. A coolaberation of experience mixed with the influence of other artists.
A person who keeps it real saves themselves and influences others to do the same.
All great artists do that.
From Thom Yorke to Eddie Vedder.
Every day I think about the fact that I’m going to die.
And I need to do things I’m afraid of.
I need to express myself honestly if the world will ever have a chance to show up.
Because in the end, nothing really matters…
Other than how I chose to perceive.
How I chose to risk.
And how I choose to live…