I have been struck lately by how many people have sacrificed their principles either to get elected, to make more money, or to cater to perceived needs of those around them in order to be accepted and more popular. How many times have you seen someone you know take a complete u-turn on a core part of their projected persona in order to achieve some sort of success. Were they then revealing who they really were, or just what needed to be done in their minds? I am careful to judge others, because usually the more harshly I respond, the more there is to reflect upon internally!
In truth I have to ask myself almost daily whether or not I am slipping into the same temptations with the decisions I must make, and I'm not always sure that I have the perspective that time and retrospect offers to make an honest analysis, because decisions regarding a whole host of subjects are not cut and dry - they live in grey areas. How many decisions have you and I both made that we feel were mistakes at this point? Too many for me to count on my behalf!
So what are core principles that should affect both life and music? Here are a few I try to reflect on when making decisions of all stripes at this time, musical or not:
1) What is the role of my faith in what I am doing? Does it have a place in a secular environment, and do I have the humility to know that I could be dead wrong?
2) Am I making a fair decision about someone that I would be comfortable with if someone were making it for me with the same criteria?
3) How am I assembling information about what I'm doing - is it limited in perspective or not?
4) Should I talk to someone else with greater expertise than me in a particular area and again, do I have the humility to listen?
5) How much is emotion playing into my decisions vs. purely rational thinking? What should the balance be?
6) Am I being narcissistic in my decision - is it all about me, or is it about others? What should this balance be?
7) Have I been relaxed enough to digest information, or am I running to such a degree that I can make a decision?
8) Do I need to make a decision at all about a particular subject - is it the right time to weigh in, and is my decision to insert myself about my need to say something or about the need for something to be said? When do I let something go that cannot be resolved?
9) Do I have the right to be angry and how do I apply my anger in a productive manner?
10) Do I believe there is a right answer or is being right not really that important?
These days I'm constantly looking in the mirror wondering how the balance of principle makes for the decisions I make daily - whether they affect me, my family, or others, especially when reflecting on conflict of all kinds. I want to remain careful, since I want to project a persona that truly is consonant with who I am - this is not an easy task, and I realize this more and more as I get older.
When you conduct or perform as an instrumentalist or singer, I believe you truly become vulnerable in a way that reflects who you really are at the core. The desire to project starts to wash away, unless that's all that is there! It's a time where people can see things more clearly about who you are, and usually you see more of yourself as well. It's why it can be both exhilarating and debilitating at times!
In what forms do you find yourself most fully realised and how does principle play a role in this process?