When you're down the mere concept of being up is like a distant world. It's not reality. It's not your current situation. So without question it takes more strength to lift your head up and rise than it does to endure. Enduring pain is hard and takes a toll on you. Sure. But to rise from the mud with your thoughts focused firmly on clouds while your body is still weighed down by sludge takes something extraordinary. Not allowing anything to inhibit your elevation from the low points in your life is what leads us on paths to making dreams reality.
It’s not my intention to depreciate the value of surviving tribulations, but I think we’d all agree that achieving your true desires in life is much more rewarding than surviving it's hardships. So why stop there? Transforming current situations from lead to gold starts with mental strength and supreme focus. The best part about it is that all of us are capable.
-Aaron S. Brown
A few years ago, I began getting headaches about once or twice a week. It wasn’t anything too serious, a couple aspirin would alleviate the pain and I would be okay. One night I realized that my pillows were straining my neck so I stopped sleeping on them and replaced them with one flat pillow. The headaches stopped after that night. This made me realize that it is always best to address the cause of the problem instead of periodically treating the symptoms.
Like many people that have seen the recent videos of murder and police brutality I have been doing a lot of thinking about a subject that is sadly not unfamiliar. As a Black man I have witnessed this as normal behavior for most of the cops I’ve personally encountered. But the truth is that the problem is not the government, the police department, or white people. The problem is racism. So these documented and undocumented incidents will continue to happen even if a corrupt cop is prosecuted in court or another multi-million-dollar settlement is granted to a family who lost a love one at the hands of an officer or another amendment is added to the Constitution. As long as racism is ignored and accepted openly or behind closed doors then these symptoms will inevitably continue to pop up in our society.
Although some racist police officers have wrongfully assaulted and killed without repercussions, I don’t think violence is the way to solve the problem. More fire has never extinguished a fire. The “aspirin” to quell the symptoms is to affect the finances of organizations that allow racism to go unchecked. We have witnessed this to be effective with the Montgomery bus boycott. But I continue to stand by my belief that until the root cause of the problem, which is racism, is honestly addressed and focused on then our headaches will continue to resurface.
Learn, grow, and help others to grow.
"No one is chosen. Yet everyone is chosen, because everyone is granted this gift – that when you learn, you shall know, that when you write, you shall be blesses... There is no greater gift." - Imhotep
Most new people that I meet know me as a producer or a composer, but I have had dozens of jobs in my lifetime. The job I worked at the longest was as an electrician. I mainly worked on jobsites at preexisting buildings, but I’ve worked on a few projects from the ground up such as banks, hospitals, and the City Center in Las Vegas. When I was an apprentice the first jobsite I was assigned to that wasn’t in a preexisting building was a new bank on the south side of Chicago and it was a huge learning experience for me. While I was installing electrical pipes on the ground before the cement foundation would be poured over them, I found it hard to imagine a fully operational bank in place of the dirt lot where I was standing. As days and weeks began to pass, the gradual progress allowed me to visualize small parts of the finished bank. But not until it was near completion did I have a clear vision in my mind of the bank in it’s entirety.
I’ve learned so many lessons that are parallel to life situations while I was an electrician. One of those was to appreciate incremental progress while having a clear vision of a goal. Project managers and various executives would periodically stop by the bank jobsite to monitor the progress. In it’s infancy with pipes stretched across the lot and wooden templates laid out for cement to be poured into, they would smile and nod or ask why something wasn’t done yet. I found it odd that they saw anything whether it was progress or not. I realize now that I lacked the vision they had and the knowledge of what it took to complete the project.
Over the years I have worked to improve my visualization skills. It has helped me to focus on an objective and monitor my progress like a project manager for my life goals. I now see small steps that used to seem insignificant as essential steps to get me closer to my goal. In contrast, I’m also able to see where I have made no progress and analyze why and what changes need to be made. In the past it was easy for me to set a goal and give up on it if I didn’t see the full completion of it after a certain time. I wasn’t acknowledging my progress so I only saw failure. I now “smile and nod” at every new step I make. I know that if I continue to walk forward then my goal will inevitably be realized. Understanding this, I’m able to see the purpose in each step and therefore, enjoy the journey to my destiny.
-Aaron S. Brown
Growing up I’ve always been told that there were no shortcuts in life. Another quote that I often heard was that there is no substitute for hard work. While I agree that it takes work to achieve goals, I’m skeptical of the fact that the work has to be hard. Instead of the previously mentioned quotes I much prefer “work smarter, not harder”. Consistency and smart approaches have always worked better for me than arduous labor alone. Working smarter is kind of like a shortcut and one great shortcut that I have discovered is mentorship.
When I was a kid playing video games, there was nothing better to me than to come across a cheat code or shortcut that enabled me to skip past a difficult level and go to the next one. I believe mentorship is the equivalent to that. I have seen it work from both sides. When taking piano lessons, I would sometimes stumble on parts when practicing alone only to shown by my instructor in a few seconds a technique that made it much easier. Years of knowledge were instantly transferred to me and I was quickly relieved of my problem and advanced to the next level. I have also shown a friend a few music production techniques that shortened his creation time. Like my piano instructor I was able to instantly see how inefficient his methods were due to my years of experience.
I would say that there are millions of people in the world that have some experience in the goals that we aspire to. We don’t always have to take the longest and hardest road to reach our destination. If you can work together with a teacher or a mentor it may save you the time of making the same mistakes they did as they acquired their knowledge in that field. So why not take advantage of a shortcut to reach your goal quicker? This all ties in to another favorite quote of mine, “a smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others”.
-Aaron S. Brown
I'm a music composer who initially started by making Hip-Hop beats. Once I began making beats I quickly learned that my tracks were a far cry from some of my favorite Hip-Hop producer's music. Although my assessment was true at the time I kept creating beats because I was intrigued by the challenge and I loved making music. Oddly though after a few years of making beats and progressively getting better I found myself less confident in showcasing my abilities. I felt that if it didn't match what I had heard from my favorite artists then there was no point in releasing it. I now realize that it's not about matching someone else's output, but to express my individuality in whatever medium I choose.
In life I've learned that we all have a role to play. I compare it to one of those ridiculously large 5000 piece puzzles where each piece has a unique shape. You can be near completion of an entire puzzle, but if one piece is missing then there will be a noticeable empty space that none of the other 4,999 pieces can fill. We are all irreplaceable in what we can contribute to the world so I believe we should give everything that we have to offer. The world is waiting for you to fill that empty space in the puzzle that only you were created for.
-Aaron S. Brown