As a teenager, I used to attend all the latest concerts. The Living End. Phoenix. Big Day Out. And the one sure thing that’d happen on the drive home would be my friends and I saying, “let’s start a band!”
Of course, we never did.
After a few days, the inspiration would fade away and the aspiration would float off into the mental wasteland, only to reemerge at the next musical extravaganza.
So why didn’t we ever pursue ‘the dream?’
And why don’t more people pursue their dreams?
While I’m sure that there are many reasons, one of my biggest problems was this:
I never brought my dreams back down to earth.
My dreams were always just ideas floating up in the clouds completely devoid of reality.
I was ‘over here’ and ‘the dream’ was waaaaay over there.
And I never sat down to actually work out what steps would be required to bridge the gap.
Because to actually work them out would require simplicity of thought and a hell of a lot of work.
What building a wall can teach you
I have many favourite videos on YouTube (76 in fact!) and the one below is definitely one of them.
It’s basically Will Smith (The Fresh Prince, Agent J and Hancock if you didn’t already know) his secrets of success and at around the 3 minute mark, he shares a story about how his dad once tore down a brick wall and told him how to rebuild it.
Will and his brother were then given the task of rebuilding it – an experience that imparted a life-long lesson on what it takes to build anything.
Low on data?
Here’s what he had to say…
“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m gonna lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ And you do that every single day and soon you have a wall.”
It’s true, no?
What we call a ‘wall’ is simply a composition of bricks that have been laid one after the other over an extended period of time?
Now the same could be said about making dreams a reality.
But instead of laying bricks, we take actions.
Building my foundations
As previously mentioned, my teenage dream was of a musical nature.
I ran away from truly facing it for years, but no matter where I went, whether it was to the USA or Vietnam, the seed was still there.
So last year, when I began entertaining that aspiration once again, I thought, ok, what do I actually need to do to make this happen?
Or put more accurately, what is the smallest step that I need to take in the right direction?
For me, that was to buy a travel guitar so that I could actually play when I was on the road.
This might not seem like a big decision, but it was at the time as the last few years of working in the digital industry had left me completely disconnected from playing music.
It took another six months to take the next step of taking private singing lessons, writing original songs and then performing once again in public.
Since returning to Adelaide at the end of last year, I’ve been focussed on developing my songwriting, instrumental and performance skills by diving into books, online courses, tuition at the ARMI rock school, a workshop with Wes Carr, and you know, actually doing it.
Big thanks to the big man @wescarr_ for workshopping songs and imparting droplets of wisdom today 😆 While it was a super constructive 5 hours, what’s ironic is that most of the things that I noted down were things that I already knew I had to do. Wes talked a bit about the impact of self-worth/belief on artists, and although it sounds simple, it really does lie at the core of it all. How many people have stopped doing what they wanted to do because they didn’t believe that they could? Most stop before they’ve even started, no? And those that do start, end up hitting the accelerator AND the brakes at the same time. And then all you get is…smoke 😅 It plays out at a gross level but then it get finer and finer. But if it’s happening, it’s still happening. There’s something special about being around like-minded people and mentors though. They become a mirror that illuminates all those subtle things that shift your behavior without you even knowing that your behavior is being shifted. And then they inspire you to open right back up. After all, you can’t really get it wrong. You just get feedback that informs where to place the next step. And the next step. And the next step. …Anyway, time to go make some music 😆 PS. Big props to Tania from @revolutionvocal for organising it all 👌 . . . #music #songwriting #singersongwriter #workshop #learning #inspiration #inspirationoftheday #wisdom #wisdomoftheday #learning #lifelessons #followyourheart
It’s still very early days for me, but the wall is slowly but surely starting to take shape.
Now here’s the real interesting thing that has happened.
What was once a ‘dream’ is no longer just a lofty idea up in the astral clouds.
Having been dissected and brought down to earth, I don’t even see it as a dream anymore.
I see it as a craft.
Just something that I do and need to continue doing.
Stop dreaming and start crafting
The great thing about a craft is that with time and effort, you will get better at it.
The not so great thing about a craft is that to get better at it, you need to put in time and effort.
This may seem disheartening to those who have been sold on the illusion that there is such a thing as success without hard work, however it is a relief to many more because it shows that none of this is magic.
In fact, you can apply this towards any dream or discipline.
If you’ve always wanted to be an author, then you need to start writing books and go from there.
If you’ve always wanted to be a dancer, then you need to start dancing and go from there.
If you’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, then you need to start selling something no matter how small.
Sure, there are many other considerations to be made outside of your craft (e.g. business, marketing, legal etc), however you will never even get to those hurdles unless you take those first few steps and keep on going.
The wall isn’t going to look like much of a wall at first.
People may laugh at you when you’re just starting out.
But if you keep on laying those bricks, then one day, you will have a wall.
Start bringing your dreams down to reality
So how about you?
Do you have a dream that’s still way up there in the clouds?
If you do, then what are the day-to-day tasks and skills that the dream requires to actually be lived out?
What is the smallest action that you can take in the right direction today?