Setting yourself up for dissapointment

‘There is no point trying to go for you dreams in your life because you are only setting yourself up for disappointment’

For whatever reason, that quote looks as pessimistic as when you read it but is surprisingly passive when said, and I’ve been really surprised by how many times it has been said by young people to me in the last few months.

I’ll admit it, I’m extremely lucky. I have only met a handful of people who found their calling as young as me. As soon as I picked up the guitar at 8 years old, it intrinsically defined me. Therefore I am not very good at empathising with people who have yet to find their passions, and in the past, I have come across as insensitive on this subject. So to make amends to that, I want to at least attempt to offer encouragement by flipping that quote on it’s head.

First of all, when you attempt to go for anything you dream of doing, you are by default setting yourself up for disappointment; but is that truly the only thing your setting yourself up for? Perhaps you are setting yourself up for finding something you have a natural disposition for, or enjoy doing it regardless of your ability, or gaining a load of lessons and knowledge in the process. It’s been said so many times before, but you never know before you try.

Success is a concept that has been held on such a pedestal in society, that it continuously halts aspiring racers to run even before the gun has been fired. The anticipation of failure, the premonition that you won’t succeed is actually more difficult to overcome than failing itself. Well here’s an open secret, happiness in pursuing something is not defined by its success or failures, it’s by the process.

When a child picks up the guitar and becomes so much in awe of the strings and the potential of the instrument, do you think that he or she is thinking about success or having approval when playing the thing? The concept of failure or success is a conditioning that is imposed later on. That’s not to say that when I make records, I don’t want to share them with as many people as possible, but regardless of whether I sell 100 or 100,000 records, I won’t ever stop because I love it too much. There have been times where I have experienced disappointment, felt completely inadequate and failed miserably, but it’s times like that where I trace back and remind myself of the first experiences I had of picking up the instrument. Along with all the inevitable neuroticism and negativity one can experience at times in the creative process, I’ll always believe the following quote that Rick Wakeman once said.

‘Success is found in a garden of failure.’

I have indeed set myself up for disappointment, but I have a heck of a good time!

Your Turn Challenge Day 1 – Help! I’m having a post university identity crisis.

I have decided to participate in the YourTurn Challenge proposed by Seth Godin and Winne Kao. This challenge comprises of writing a blog every day for seven days and the following is my first article.

Day 1 – Help! I’m having a post-university identity crisis!

On August 8th 2014, I walked out of the door of the Academy of Contemporary Music and embarked on the first steps of my life where I would be no longer in full-time education.

In all honesty, I embraced the situation rather erratically, I fled off to France for a getaway weekend with friends of a friend, converted to vegetarianism, bought about a dozen new shirts and took midnight walks along the countryside of my hometown in Wales, looking up to the stars with some hope that they would provide an answer to my elusive question…what next?

The feeling of disorientation brought upon oneself after having going through the continuous process of being graded is inevitable. One of my favourite film directors Guillermo Del Toro says in his book that the toughest time in a man’s life is in his twenties because you are fiercely screaming who you are, but you have only half a notion of who you are. I can identify entirely with that. The future can be as terrifying as much as it is exciting, and what is to be experienced in success or failure remains uncertain.

What doesn’t add any assurance to the matter is that the current stream of British government in office could not give a flying saucepan about younger people. The hike in tuition fees and cutting housing benefit for under 25’s is stark evidence of that.

So we have a choice. Either we choose not to have a choice and submit to the rat race in cold comfort scarily akin to Noam Chomsky’s prediction, or we can choose that it be for us to look upon ourselves to gain a stronger sense of conviction of what we have to offer to this world and advise each other. After searching the Internet, I am pleased to say the latter is happening from young writers in good strength, and now I feel it is my turn to partake.

So here are three things that I eventually learnt and have helped me embrace 2015 with an open mind and I hope that it can be of more help to others.

  1. When it comes to learning, you have just started

I’ve discovered that at whatever age you are it’s irrelevant to the fact that you never cease to learn new things. So I’ve spent a lot of time searching and exploring, listening and reading. The power of the latter is undervalued to a certain extent. I have read arguably as much in the last six months than I have in my entire life. Reading forces the mind into thinking for itself and I have truly felt the benefits of reading anything; from Biographies of my inspirations, Tolstoy or Chekov, Plato or Aristotle to the poetry of Rilke and Keats. All of it has allowed me to continue to gain in wisdom in some form or another.

  1. Our generation has the time

For the generation above, I think it was more expected of people to go straight into full time work and live independently. For us, the scenario is different, it isn’t at all accessible for many of us to afford housing of our own for the time being and therefore it is acceptable for a fair amount of us to reside with parents to figure things out slowly but surely.

We can make mistakes; we can try our hand at different career paths how to live our lives following our passions. Whilst the central powers aren’t necessarily opening as many doors for younger people to work up a career ladder as previously, the internet has offered us a universal ability to create our own doors and establish our own ideas and make something happen.

  1. Enjoy the present moment

It’s very easy to forget this when you are young, have ambitions and the future is out there to attain; but the key to being able to truly enjoy it all is by fully embracing the now. Enjoying the present moment.

Whilst I can still walk among the stars for solace and serenity, one of Shakespeare’s quotes comes to mind. It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

Why are you doing the Your Turn challenge?

Just over a year ago, one of my lecturers, who is a blogger himself recommended that I should start tempting my hand at writing after observing my tendencies to be a deep thinker (a more apt description would be over-thinker). It was great advice and I have seen how liberating an experience it has been for him and have been somewhat conscious of how writing could hold the same virtues for me.

Since graduating, I have published a handful of articles, but in no manner, have I really dedicated to making a committed effort for it due to a number of reasons excuses including the crisis mentioned this article and tackling a host of a new exciting music projects. After seeing this challenge, I feel the time has come to get me into real momentum so that I can blog on a regular basis.