The Daily Stoic for May 10th. “Don’t be inspired, be inspirational”.
“Let us also produce some bold act of our own—and join the ranks of the most emulated.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 98.13b
Today’s stoic excerpt is all about taking action, and I could not agree more with it.
A World Of Producers And Consumers
I’ve always thought that the world is divided between producers and consumers. Doers and observers. Writers and readers. Composers and listeners. Of course, reducing people to a unidimensional classification is always wrong, but there’s some truth in this classification.
However, I strongly believe that there are people out there that just need to build stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, words, paintings, photos, films, code… it’s a compulsion. I know for sure because I consider myself one of them.
Not that a group is better than the other, of course. In my case, I think it comes down to the fact that I am an atheist. I don’t believe in heaven, new opportunities, or reincarnations. What you see is what you get.
That means that for me doing stuff is my way of transcending. While it’s true that Bosques de mi Mente, my minimalist solo piano project, was a commercial fiasco -it was never intended to be a success anyway – during its lifetime, it touched a lot of people. One day I received this email:
Dear “Bosque de mi mente”, first of all I want to thank you from the buttom of my heart for your deep, soulful and honest music..believe me when I say I listen to it everyday since I heard you the first time in I guess 2012. It helped me through hard times and was a constant companion through my life! I love you music and I am very thankful it is (and will be) part of my life!
When you receive a message like that, talking about something you have done… There are no words to describe that feeling. No amount of money can make you feel something similar. And I am nobody… My music is not that good, or special, or hard to do. We all can create stuff that inspires others.
Don’t Be Inspired, Be Inspirational
Before composing piano music on my own, I was in several musical bands, actually, since I was 18. However, I’ve rarely played a cover by another band, not even the ones I love. I strongly disliked it when suggested by another band member.
Because for me, spending 5-6 hours learning and rehearsing stuff from other musicians is 5 or 6 hours that you are wasting not creating your own music. I don’t think the world needs yet another version of “Sweet child of mine”. Leave the sheet music down and create something new. I would rather listen to a mediocre song that’s yours, than to yet-another-brilliant-version of Guns & Roses.
The same applies to whatever you do. Stop sharing, covering, referencing, or -even worse- copying the stuff from others. We are all influenced by others, and that’s ok, but develop your own language.
Write your own ideas, and talk about them. Create your own music. Build the next killing app, instead of the next Facebook. Photograph the world as seen through your eyes. Share your own points of view. Don’t follow others, or imitate them.
Don’t be inspired, be inspirational.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Don’t be inspired, be inspirational”, is a call to action for all of us. Instead of imitating others, make use of your time to create something new. Something that’s uniquely yours.