The Most Important Belief

Bird in Snow painting by Chao Shao-an featured in his book A Study of Chinese Paintings.

A Story of the Dismantling of a False Belief

In my 20s after graduating college, I was managing and performing in a rock band while at the same time working full time in various white collar office jobs. I've always been good at making first impressions so I was taken under the wing of many of my corporate bosses and given more access to their worlds than most 20 something kids just out of college.

What I saw were people living stressful lives where corporate politicking and backstabbing were as much a part of their jobs as working together to accomplish the company's stated goals. After having met three different older mentors all playing the same game, my arrogant 20 year old mind jumped to a critically inaccurate conclusion. Because I was not willing to do what these people did to have what they had, my mind formulated the broad conclusion "I am not built for wealth and if I have to choose between the life of a starving musician and a corporate pawn broker, I choose to starve."

I held this belief for the better part of a decade and slowly but surely like with all beliefs that are strongly held, my experience began to shape itself around my belief. It took me another 10 years to convince myself that the belief was false.

This is a variation of a false belief that I hear artists of various disciplines parrot. The ones I hear most often goes something like, "You have to starve to be a true artist," or you have to "sell out to make money as an artist."

Neither of these is true. No matter how many times it is parroted. I actually think that the original creator of this belief was an art patron who created it to convince the artist that he was supporting to assume the proper attitude of gratitude for the benevolent support.

The reason why I know if is not true is because I saw my father provide for a family in one of the most expensive places to live in the United States purely as an artist. If he could create that experience for himself then it must be available to anyone.

Evidence to the Contrary Abounds

The younger millennial generation gets a lot of criticism. Much of it is unfair. Yes they lack the ability that the older gen X and baby boomers possessed which is to do something that you hate to make money to raise a family. Is this a skill that should even be praised? What this younger generation proved was that you could do almost anything that you loved and provide for yourself. We recently saw the first YouTube Billionaire! That is a person who has made $1,000,000,000.00 making videos on YouTube!!

This one billionaire is not alone. There are seemingly thousands of example of people earning six figure incomes making videos about whatever strange thing that they love to do. Some like to film practical jokes, others play the bass guitar. The most popular videos are often not built around talent but personality. Someone just making funny comments about the videos that other people make. Sort of like YouTube's version of the late night talk show host. Some even (gasp), do Chinese Brush Painting!

The Most Important Belief

The subject of this email promises delivery of "the most important belief;" A belief that trumps all other beliefs.

Here it is:

"Each of us has the ability inside us to live exactly the experience we wish to live."

We can create our lives like a beautiful painting and the mechanism by which we do this is quite simple. We focus on things that make us feel good. The better we feel the more we attract situations where we are inspired to act in a way creates the results that we desire. Our emotions are a reliable guide to indicate if our current focus serves us or impedes us. No other person can create in our experience unless we allow them. We allow them by holding false beliefs that somehow we are not the creator's of our own experience.

A New Year and A New Understanding

Is there a more perfect way to start the new year than to release all the beliefs that are holding you back and to allow yourself to soar into an experience of your own creation, adorned with all the beautiful details of your choosing.

Flying Bird painting by Chao Shao-an from his book A Study of Chinese Paintings. See a larger version of this painting on our blog.

Artist improvement

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