A dagger in the back as a moment to reflect
A USEFUL HEURISTIC, A POTENT FILTER
When someone criticizes you, train to immediately ask yourself: "Would I rather be him/her, or I'd rather be me?" before taking the remark at face value. - N.N. Taleb
It’s a challenging moment to find out that one of your closest friends has been denigrating your life’s main pursuit behind your back. This happened to me a few days ago and I’ve been contemplating the implications and weight of the situation. If I’m to look past the lack of personal respect this person exhibited, as he’s been generally supportive in most conversations with me, a more disconcerting question arises - how will I deal with these telling daggers in the future? How will I deal with not only the outright disingenuous faces, but also with the more dire possibility that what I’m doing has no place in this world?
I’ve always been fairly good with rejection while working as an actor and going on countless auditions, but I have to admit that the music has been a predominantly dull pain with a consistent response of “not good enough” for the past two years. This gets me all sorts of fucked up on a daily basis because there’s this incurable sensation of “you have purpose” all while the outer-world shrugs its shoulders every time I engage with it. The duality has driven me to the pernicious lows of depression when subsequently bringing me up to the most beautiful moments I couldn’t have experienced on any other path. But perhaps that’s just the beauty of life; pockets of both good and bad whatever the circumstance.
My buddy’s furtive denouncement of my plight gave rise to a reflection of the whole. Where was I? Where do I plan to go? How much progress have I made? This was all asked through the lens of, “should I quit?”. I’m proud to say that I did this soberly and with equanimity. Although I can’t be certain that music is my absolute calling, I have made an enormous amount of progress and impacted enough people that I can’t just throw it away. I also haven’t reached a broad enough audience to draw a definitive conclusion of the music’s usefulness. Not enough data :)
What has changed in my approach after the smoke of doubt settled was a resolve to ruthlessly edit my work. If it’s anything I learned, my music can be too dense to be fully enjoyed. I have a great opportunity right now to go back to the drawing board of my latest project (which sounds effing dope btw) and simplify and refine. Refinement is something I’ve never done before, laying down heavy bars and immediately printing the projects. This will be my attempt to normalize my music and test the response. The simple novelty of this approach makes me more excited than anything else. I guess it had to take me a few years to get here to learn the lessons.
And to my acquaintance - dude, don’t talk about people behind their backs. It makes you lose all of your social capital. I’ve lost my trust in you and I wish it wasn’t so. But I guess thanks for the nudge in calibration. My next project will smash. And even if it doesn’t, the one after will.
“GOODBYE” is currently in progress. It’s tough to say when it will drop, but we’re working hard and more excited than ever about its new sound.
You can check out my latest projects anywhere you listen to music!
Much love to everyone 🙏