Trent Reznor Thinks Artists Should Speak Out

“There weren’t a lot of things to distract you, so you’d end up turning inward. I can’t help but think about that lack of access. The side effect was that when you could get something, whether it be an album or a magazine that looked like a portal into a new world, you pored over it, because it wasn’t one Google search away all the time. I think I turned out the way I did because I was so bored.”

Life is Good – Marshall Goldsmith

An interview in the ‘Zen and Business Newsletter’ with the author of ‘Triggers’.

Marshall Goldsmith was called one of the ‘top ten executive educators’ by The Wall Street Journal, and holds a list of accolades alongside a list of businesses who credit him for his major success. Remarkably, interviews with him are relatively hard to come by. I found this one, hidden away as a word doc(!), on his website. It’s not hard to see why his approach is more readily helpful than the advice of many of his contemporaries.

“The great Western disease is ‘I’ll be happy when…’ This is fueled by our prevailing art form – the commercial. The commercial says, ‘You are unhappy. You spend money. You become happy!’ I don’t believe that anyone can become happy by having more. I also don’t believe that anyone can become happy by having less. We can only find happiness and satisfaction with what we have. Life is good when we make it good.”

It is a mistake to believe that there is something waiting ahead of us that will fix our problems. There are no external solutions, only internal ones. There is also no fixed internal state:

“I believe that we have no ‘fixed identity’ but instead we are ever changing. My coaching approach involves helping people let go of the past and focus on becoming what they want to become.”

It’s a strange truth that we are constantly looking toward the future for fixes and into the past for rationalizations for our failures. It would be better to look at our present selves, and decide what it is we are supposed to do in the now.

All of these truths make Goldsmith a very different type of coach, in my opinion. The article closes with this quote:

“We all have a ‘blind side’ – that is behavior that others can see in us, but we can’t see in ourselves. By being open to feedback we admit this is a reality. We are able to learn from others and change – instead of ‘prove they are wrong’ and stay the same. The perspective of others is the only thing that can enable us to do this.”

Look inward. Be open to our blind side. Be present-minded. And remember: Life is good.

Erykah Badu: In Conversation

A fantastic interview with Erykah Badu on Vulture.

Erykah Badu has never been one to shy away from making a provocative statement. When asked in this interview about how she feels about the current allegations against many artists, she sidesteps it and decides to tells a story around Barabbas.

Jesus is standing on one side, Barabbas is standing on the other side, and the people have to choose which one of them could go free. Some people started yelling, “Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!” Then so many people were doing that that the others found safety in numbers, and they also started yelling, “Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!” People walked up who didn’t even know what was going on and they also started yelling for Barabbas to go free. I always think about that. It’s so important to me.

I think it’s important to understand that Badu isn’t trying to undermine any allegations against any artist, but instead is fighting for the recognition that it’s important to think for yourself. She continues that thought out a bit further:

The people who got hurt, I feel so bad for them. I want them to feel better, too. But sick people do evil things; hurt people hurt people. I know I could be crucified for saying that, because I’m supposed to be on the purple team or the green team. I’m not trying to rebel against what everybody’s saying, but maybe I want to measure it. Somebody will call me and ask me to come to a march because such and such got shot. In that situation I want to know what really happened. I’m not going to jump up and go march just because I’m green and the person who got shot is green.

We should have strong opinions. We should not have those opinions because others told us too. Badu gives us insight into how she holds her own, referencing (of all things!) Star Wars: The Phantom Menace:

There was one scene where they were fighting, and they got to these doors that would close and then open up 30 seconds later. So at one point, (Qui-Gon Jinn) turned and flipped and he and Darth Maul were on opposite sides of a door. So you have Darth Maul standing there, ready for that door to open, and Qui-Gon Jinn does this (Badu briefly kneels on the ground with her eyes closed just for a few seconds), then he gets up. He took a deep breath and then started back fighting…I fell in love with that. Whenever I’m afraid, I do that: Take a minute and breathe. No matter how scary something is, doing that helps it go away.

Take a minute, and breathe.

Reminds me of: ‘The Phantom Menace