Why Everyone Needs a Mentor

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There isn’t a single solitary person on this earth striving for something ,that doesn’t look up to someone or have sign post ideals. These ideals are the way we view everyone else’s career or there ‘press’. We all follow something.

Even those amazing visionaries who seem to be hurling along the train tracks at 300mph, they are still glancing out the windows looking around for inspiration or a guiding light.

Im a huge believer in having people in my life and spending time listening to the thoughts, ideas and stories of others. The music community we engage, is spilling over with very talented composers, sound designers, engineers,producers etc, and yet for a lot of us, we find it hard to just ask the questions.  Personally im at that stage in life now, call it post fatherhood realisation, that their is nothing to fear. Only everything in life to discover and to LISTEN to others.

There was a time and i think we all can relate to part of this, when you just shut down and we dont listen to a damn word anyone says. Not your mum and dad, not your school teachers, and certainly no one in authority. I think its supposed to be our teenage years but it can last a little longer……

The thing that pulled me up by my boot straps, was finally accepting that you will never truly know all there is to know. Not about life, people or indeed our art and creative world. You simply cannot possibly get to any stage and know all there is to know. From the most celebrated artists and one off genius we read about to the guy writing jingles for animal litter etc.

Its not about just looking up. Aiming for these crazy lofty ideals. I want to be this guy, that guy and as good as them. I want to score a 100 movies like that bloke and everyone to whistle my theme tune. I mean by all means do that but you get tons of stares walking down the street.

Its about looking left and to the right at your peers. Your friends. You can simply learn so much by respecting someone elses point of view. You may not work there hours, you might not write music like they do, for the gigs they do, in the exciting locations they do it in.

If you thought at the top of this post i was going to make a big thing about having a life mentor, then im sorry. Im going down a different road here. I dont believe any of this need be so idealistic and glitsy for want of a word.

I remember having a hangout online and one composer was talking about how he regiments his daily work flow. How he manages to get up and function and to have some form over his daily hours and his reply touched me deeply. He may not have reaslised it so much, but in every other answer he gave, he had stated that it was a virtue or manner that he had learned from his dad.

And from all those comments he made, the reflections and thoughts, he had me right then. I was LISTENING. he not only had something to say, but i knew right then, i can take something from this and improve my state of being. i can hone something.

And for the record, the guy has huge musical chops and is a very successful composer. He had put his money where his mouth is and followed his ideals and frankly it works

Im not saying we go out and sponge everything people do around us just because they are capable of landing a decent gig .”That guy just write the ad music for one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world, what may i ask does he eat for breakfast??, does he dress to the left or right,” !!!! I mean there is a logical line in the sand here.

When i went fulltime, and actually a few months prior to this, i went on stroll and asked a lot of people how that transition affected there life. How they felt it change there outlook, their goals. I just needed to LISTEN and take something from this.

People are so very powerful. You can be lost in there words, controlled, pulled in, pushed away and every state inbetween. I came away asking was i ready to make this huge leap and leave a good career behind to start over???

And out of something mental like 50 opinions, only one guy said dont do it. His reasons were valid and to an extent, his solitary view was one i needed to listen to more and respect why his comment was in the minority, not just cash in all my approving replies.

Did i listen?? well in a way yes. I still went fulltime, here i am writing this but i learned so much more from his cautionary tale.

Whenever im pushing so hard to improve and grow, their are a handful of people i simply have to engage with and ask, “ok just lay it out, what dont you like”. what isnt working here??  And these are people i trust. I listen. Always listening.

Even the people you brush off when you think, “WTF do they know about me, music or this industry???”. well sometimes that distant layman, non attached and with zero emotional attachment stand point, is your most precious.

We forget that we are all here to serve. In some way or another, ultimately we serve. If we just do the opposite of what your audience wants ALL THE DAMN TIME, then dont be shocked if they dont pay to listen or clients hire you. Forget the attitude, be all smiley and shit when you do so but only playing by all your own rules to suit just you, is never going to work .

I hate some of the things i do hear!!! , i cant say i go through life without a big cringe moment over some colourful and frankly wild opinions when someone is so far out of their depth, they will free form an answer. like there in an oral exam and have to say something. its just a priceless moment. “i need to sound clever right now so…..”

Sometimes, you will go through life and your working life, and people will step up and share a lot with you. I would urge you to take a step back sometimes. Every once in a while and LISTEN. And if you dont agree,then damn well try and understand why they think differently.

Every huge famous composer has people around them to bounce off. Nothing comes out of the gate clean .It has all been run past a dozen people very good at what they do, who could offer a new light, a better way to help you send your emotive message. The biggest names today. Everyone does it. The guys who arent winning so much right now are those who listen to the parts they want to hear, and then not act on the parts that cause discomfort like working harder, longer hours, making an effort to see the other side. To dust ourselves off and do some stuff we really dont want to.

If you have creative and loving people around you who have something to say, think a little differently next time. You would be surprised at how everyone has the capacity to teach you a thing or too and a new perspective that will help shape the one you crave so much. To find your own voice, sometimes taking some time to hear others goes a long long way. Just a thought.

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