The most important thing is this:
That one would grow up as a good person.
That one would become obedient member of society.
That one would become competent at what one does.
That one would become a skillful professional.
That one would thrive in an over-competitive world.
That one would use other people's resources to become bigger than oneself.
That one would stand out from the crowd.
That one would avoid crowds altogether.
That one would find one's mission and excel at it.
That one would become a remarkable individual desiring to make a difference in the world.
Which ones would you choose? Whom would you like to work/live with? Which ones would you like the policy of your country to be?
...start your own thing. Everything you need is at your fingertips and inside you.
"I sacrifice a lot"
Sometimes people don't say this out of a sincere desire to show how much good they are doing to others, how much they deprive themselves selflessly and generously gives to others, how excellent role models they are to young people, but out of dissatisfaction at what they do, out of frustration that they are not appreciated enough, out of grudge that they are not following the road which is meant for them.
A person who is a true beacon to others will never emphasize her generosity, because she realizes that the world does not owe her anything, but she owes the world her talent, her enthusiasm, her contagious charisma.
It is not easy to change yourself, but this feature is exactly for which we would miss you if you were gone.
"You are wise"
When somebody tells you this, know that what they often really mean is "you are lucky and I'm not. It means I'll never have the same chance of success as you. It means I'll never have the opportunity to do something important because I didn't get picked. It means I'll keep waiting for the phone to ring."
Sometimes, though, it means "if you did it, I can do it, too."
That's when the magic happens.
How to know you are on to something?
Tell your idea to someone who tries to protect you... and do the opposite of what this person's advice is.
One of the most common mistakes people make when talking about taking action is saying they want to do something but don't have the power to do it.
You want to initiate organ restoration project at your church, but don't have the money? You want to tour the world with organ recitals but nobody has heard about you? You want to help fight hunger in Africa but feel that this is way out of your league?
Choose smaller goals first, the ones that you can't hide behind. And start a blog (or whatever social platform you prefer). It's (almost) free.
Power is never given. Power is always taken. One little connection at a time.
"All that's left are memories"
This is what many elderly people say when they mean that all the fun and meaningful time of their lives has already been spent. Now they can only watch TV or look outside the windows for hours without end. Or emotionally abuse all the people around them spreading all negativity they have accumulated like a virus. Or keep doing physically exhausting work as long as they can without any joy.
But this isn't true, is it?
All they need to do is to go collect some new memories.
Who took our willingness to choose?
When we were in kindergarten, we all said: "I want to draw this drawing which hasn't been drawn before", "I want to sing this song which hasn't been sung before", "I want to tell this joke which hasn't been told before", "I want to play this game which hasn't been played before".
Somewhere at school between ages 9 and 12 we we told to raise the hand when we wanted to speak up, somewhere at school we were told to wait for our turn when we wanted to say what mattered to us, somewhere at school we were told to give only one correct answer when they asked us a question, somewhere at school we were told to comply with the rules when we wanted to innovate.
We've bought into this propaganda of industrial mindset which says that only those in power can choose for you, only those in power can decide if you are creative or not.
Guess what, these people lost their power all at once when the Internet came along.
We are all too creative. What we need is to step outside our comfort zone and choose to matter.
Where are your songs?
What gets any creative person out of bed every morning? It's the fear of going out with most of their songs still in them.
Choosing or being chosen?
The first thing you do when you create your art is to think who is it for. What group of people will likely be delighted and inspired by what you have to offer? What group of people would miss you, if you stopped doing it?
The alternative is to execute an idea hoping that somebody will like it, hoping that somebody will be changed by it.
In the first case you choose your customer, in the second - they choose you.
Being chosen always takes away the responsibility from you but it also takes away the control you have over your work.
Choosing takes more guts but it's ultimately far more rewarding.
PS When the choice is yours, be prepared to say: "Maybe it's not for you and that's OK".
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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