Friday, August 24, 2007
It's Friday night and Jeffy and Roxana are downstairs prepping to run tonight's bootcamp in Rome.
I might join them, I might not. I haven't decided yet.
I'm sitting here reading up on Dr. Dre's upcoming DETOX album, which is slated to be a classic. I'm totally psyched about it.
Whether or not you're a fan of hip hop really isn't at issue here (I happen to listen to music about 10 hours a day while I work so I listen to *everything*). It's the creative process involved that fascinates me.
One of the things I love reading about Dr. Dre is his legendary studio sessions. This is a guy who is notorious for his insane work ethic, taking tracks and mixing them down to his personal vision of lethal perfection......... even shredding the albums on the spot in an industrial strength paper-shredder if they aren't up to his standards.
I have all sorts of personal favourites in all artforms. I love Terrence Malick's films (his most recent "The New World" ripped a black hole in the fabric of my mind I'm still trying to piece back together) and as far as books go I have too many favourites to name.
I've always really had a fascination with people for whom the whole money and fame thing is a NON-FACTOR....... and who have a single-minded focus to birth the movement that's trapped inside them into the world of tangible form.
I'm talking about the guys who transcend the "trends" of the day and put out an energy that draws the masses over to THEM. Or likewise, the guys who are just too ahead of their time to be understood (like Terrence Malick with his last film) and really don't care either way.
(Again, the external validation is not a factor...)
I mean, there's a joy in creating something that leaves a legacy. Something that people acknowledge as being a classic even after you're gone. It's nice.
Ultimately though, even the sun is burning out. I'm in Rome right now and as I walk through the ruins that people lived and died to protect, I realize that all this stuff is falling apart whether we like it or not.
Like a giant universe-wide liquidation sale...... "EVERYTHING - MUST - GO".
I've taken a lot of harsh creative lessons in the past years, and one of the biggest I've learned is that the so-called *result* can never superceded the enjoyment and enthusiasm that comes from the *process* of creation.
I know this might sound funny on the surface, but you need to really think about it...
If you've ever gotten what you chased after so hard in life, you probably noticed....... it really didn't make all that much of a difference to how you felt inside.
Or at least, it was very short lived.
It's like..... a house, no matter how fat, is still just a house...... A car, no matter how pimped out, is still just a car.
Even the cutest chick you ever hook up with, unless she's got a triple set of breasts like the girl in the movie "Total Recall", is still just another ordinary human being like yourself.
More than anything it's just the sense of self-efficacy that comes from knowing you're capable of experiencing a vision and bringing it into reality that's the core enjoyment in terms of the result.
I'm talking about the whole "actualization of your potential" without which a dark cloud of shame and regret -- and house of cards of rationalizations to deal with it -- hangs over your entire life.
Really though...... beyond your sense of being "at ease in the world" as a man, even the most awesome of results is usually no big woop.
I mean, sure, you've got to pay the bills. But is that really so hard??
As long as you've got the resources to do the things you want to do in life, it's really the journey and the process that's the real payoff in all this.
I know that in my case, creatively, if I start thinking about the result it will invariably trip up my entire process.
I've learned the hardway that you have a choice: Either do it for the love of the "DOING", or chase after the "RESULT" and fail to get it.
Any time I focus on the result I find that I'm instantly severed and disconnected from the flow that provides me with creative inspiration.
Sometimes my mind will start flooding with thoughts of the recognition I know I'll get for something that's really good...... and I lose my focus that way.
Other times I start micromanaging what people will think of what I'm doing...... and I lose my focus that way as well.
I have to laugh at myself at that point...... because the irony is I'm causing this dysfunction in MYSELF by moving AGAINST the current rather than WITH it.
Ultimately the only way for me to find the "pathway" to the creative depths of my mind is to engage in a process where the DOING is more important than the OUTCOME.
A classic, in my opinion, can only be realized when you engage in it purely for the enjoyment of witnessing your own vision brought to form.
As soon as other people's expectations get stirred into the mix you suddenly lose the surging, focused energy that's the key ingredient in all this.
CEOs, MBAs, and business executive types (aka -- "suits") often have difficulties relating to this because they have no concept of the process that's involved. They've never created a classic, so just extrapolate the type of work that they did in their COMM101 class and figure that if you "work a little harder" that you somehow produce one.
Oftentimes you'll see them trying to copy or replicate an existing fad, but ironically, they have absolutely no idea how the original trend came into existence in the first place.
In reality (ie: the "trenches" and "mental/spiritual furnace" of real artistry), classics are produced through a very profound and ultimately self-realizing process.
"YOU" cannot create a classic on your own -- at least, any more than a toaster can toast a piece of bread without electricity.
You can create a GOOD piece of work, sure. Even a very good one.
But to create a CLASSIC you have to become an INTERMEDIARY and connect to something a lot deeper in yourself, harness it, and allow it to flow out of you.
It's an entirely different process...
If you want to get props or money or credit for it...... you interrupt the flow and the classic goes away.
If you want to show that you're better than somebody else...... you interrupt the flow the classic goes away.
Instead, you've got to just say to yourself "I'm enjoying the DOING of this... The real enjoyment is in the offering of value and in the connection to a deeper part of myself that I get in the PRACTISE of honing of my skills..."
One could even say that the end result is ultimately meaningless to you... That the outcome is intended for the people who enjoy it down the line, and that it's none of your concern.
For you, the real enjoyment is in the *connection* you get to something greater than yourself, or perhaps to the core essence of "who you really are".
I mean, here's a great quote for you about actor Daniel Day Lewis straight from the trusty old Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Day_Lewis)
"Daniel Day-Lewis took a leave of absence from acting by putting himself into "semi-retirement" and returning to his old passion of woodworking. He moved to Florence, Italy where he became intrigued by the craft of shoemaking, eventually apprenticing as a cobbler for a time. His exact whereabouts and actions were not publicly known."
Most people would look at this and think he's gone crazy.
But what this guy knows (that most people don't) is that it's the DOING that's the real payoff.
It's like Tom Sizemore says in the movie HEAT -- "The action IS the juice..."
In moving to Florence and disconnecting from the here-today-gone-tommorow props of Hollywood, one would hope he was able to engage in the process of DOING and re-connect himself with that deeper element that made him great.
Simple work, something without the promise of a glitzy-glamorous "outcome", is of course a more direct way of re-connecting yourself with that type of enjoyment.
It's like getting a "free high" -- without the expense or headaches surrounding illicit drugs.
Incidentally, here's another quick quote about Lewis' work...:
"After a three-year absence from filming, Day-Lewis was convinced to return to acting by Martin Scorsese (with whom he had worked on The Age of Innocence) and Harvey Weinstein to play (opposite Leonardo Di Caprio) the villain gangleader, "Bill the Butcher" (who, ironically, has a pure hatred for Ireland and the Irish people), in Gangs of New York.
He began his lengthy, self-disciplined process by taking lessons as an apprentice butcher. Day-Lewis' dedication to the role even threatened his life at one point during filming when he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He refused to wear a warmer coat or to take treatment because it was not in keeping with the period. However, he was eventually persuaded to seek medical treatment.
Also, between takes, he would often listen to Eminem tunes, to help get him into the self-righteous frame of mind of the character. His performance in Gangs of New York earned him his third Academy Award nomination and won him the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. At the time, he swore that this film would be his last."
I really love this because it says a lot about his process. I admire it.
In a world oftentimes so suffocated with slacking and whining, reading this is just such a breath of fresh air.
As a young guy just starting to understand the way that this whole deal works, I can read this and see it as a signpost leading me in the right direction.
I also love how he surrounds himself with classics (in this case, Eminem) to "harmonize" himself with the type of bottled-up energy he wanted to experience and emanate and convey.
I've always believed that there's a harmonious "ting" or "frequency" to the presence and authenticity of a true classic.
It's something that you tune yourself to.
One of my "big secrets" is that I'm always reading books by, hanging out with, and delving into the offerings of people who are dialed into the frequency-of-mind from which "classics" are born.
I really saturate and swim in this stuff, and it's because I know that the source of the thought-frequencies (which some people conceptualize as "vibrational energy") will lead me back to the place where I can connect with that part of myself with greater and greater ease.
Oftentimes I'm credited with being a work-horse, and that's because rather than straining for outcome I'm "in the moment" and enjoying the process of it.
Engaging in work should leave you *energized*. Moreso, it should be burning off the daily buildup of negativity and move you into a state of positivity and calm.
If it's draining you, it's because you've lost the beauty of the *doing* and you're straining for the petty, false sense of self-enhancement that comes from the potential result.
Obviously this isn't a shift in thinking that you make overnight. It's an epiphany that becomes more and more clear to you over time.
I still teach bootcamps despite that every time I teach them I'm losing revenue for the company (it's 21 hours with me away from my duties) because it's re-connects me with my most basic of roots.
Every program I've ever run has been a classic to me. Maybe not to other people, and maybe not even to the people who took it. But it was to me because I was fully engaged in my craft.
Even though it's not a large-scale beast like a book or DVD or a big Superconference...... and it will never be remembered by more than a few individuals, it's equally if not *more* meaningful.
It seems like more and more manual labour is being shunned as "small time" in the recent decades, and to me that's just a further manifestation of the social conditioning that's polluting people's minds these days.
In fact, I've often thought this "falling out of love" with the simple artistry of day-to-day processes...... and desperate, needy new obsession with hitting empty endgoal after endgoal (and subsequent chasing after new ones in the belief that happiness is around the next corner) has been one of the major dysfunctions in our society on more levels than we'll ever know.
As far as success with women goes...... most guys I see are exhausted by it.
It's either 1) They're newbies so focused on the result that the highs-and-lows of the night drain them of vitality, or 2) Advanced guys so caught up in preserving their inflated sense-image they feel
like they're chasing after validation instead of having fun.
This hollow experience of life leads to those needy, hungry eyes...... which is just such a buzz-kill.
It's when you drop all this and enjoy socializing for the offering-of-value and playfulness of it that your results will suddenly shoot through the roof.
That doesn't mean that you don't "pull the trigger" when you meet a girl that you like. It just means that in conversation you're expressing your personality fully without scanning for a reaction, which makes you a challenge and a much, much more compelling dude.
This past weekend I had a young guy on program... He'd never been with a woman before and asked me "How do I start being genuinely interested in people if I don't care what they're talking about??"
Right then and there I pin-pointed what would get him his biggest gain.
His mind was still programmed by the culture of "everything must lead to an outcome of self-enhancement" (underlying assumption: YOU are not enough AS YOU ARE -- which by nature is very low self-esteem) and so we made the entire focus of the first night about the "enjoyment of the doing" instead.
It was really amazing. In spite of being a young asian guy with an accent and speaking to a bunch of oftentimes snobby Italians at a hot club, the guy still had the night of his life.
Jeffy and I were joking constantly that he was like a Malaysian movie star. He was incredible...... and of course, he deserves a lot of credit for his awesome effort as well.
It was really a beautiful thing. I pray to God that he can internalize it because it will fundamentally change his life.
I also have to say, before wrapping this up, that the process of creating the upcoming "Jeffy Show" was an amazing experience as well.
Over the course of it's development and multiple rehearsals I watched Jeffy hone it into a true classic.
We went into it with the mindset that we were going to get his real personality out there. It would be offensive to some people, obviously... but a REAL expression of a REAL person's life experience.
To put yourself out there like that, all the while making it a potent project that people could use to take their lives to the next level...... it was a big challenge that Jeffy met head on.
And in the PROCESS of artistry that was involved, Jeff was also brought to MOVE PAST many of the old lifestyle choices that he'd hung onto.
In many ways, I think that that's one of the most valuable aspects of the creative process. The movement of bottled up energy from your inner to outer world, and thus gaining a deeper level of inner space and perspective.
This process continues on into your adult life, and rather than becoming stagnant and bottled up, you continue to evolve.
Anyway, that's about all I have to say on this topic for today. Hopefully you guys have gained a new perspective, and I'll be back with more next week!!