What if we felt greatness about our singing as simply as we felt hunger or sexual desire? -asks Eric Maisel
How we view ourselves matters. What we say to ourselves matters. Whether we think that we can achieve success and greatness and deserve success and greatness matters.
Our inner representations, language and feelings do not seal our fate but they go a long way toward helping us or harming us.
It may not be, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus put it, that character is destiny, but rather that our inner landscape is destiny.
If we do not think that we can be great, can we be great?
Lessons from Reality Singing Shows
When we watch the reality singing shows we begin to discern something interesting.
Often the “best voices” leave the show early, sometimes remarkably early.
Singers with dramatically less good voices often rise to the top by virtue of their conviction, their stage presence, their showmanship and what looks to be the belief that they are headliners and not back-up singers.
Indeed, you will often hear a judge or coach say something like that to one of the “big voices” about to be eliminated: “You have a great voice but I’m getting ‘back-up singer’ from you.”
Can we Have the Conviction of Sting?
Recently I watched Sting on a Ted Talk describing his childhood.
He grew up in the shadows of a shipyard, one of the largest in the world, and virtually everyone in town, including his father, worked in that shipyard.
At a very early age Sting decided not only that he would never work in that shipyard, which many another child might have also internally announced, but announced something else as well.
He had a very odd conviction for a boy living in the shadows of a shipyard: that he would become a world-famous singer, sell millions of albums, and win multiple Grammys.
Where does a conviction like that come from?
As importantly, how do we create some conviction like that in ourselves?—or, if we must, a conviction more modest than that but still pretty grand?
It’s not exactly confidence that we’re talking about, not exactly self-assurance, and certainly not arrogance, grandiosity, or narcissism.
It’s something else that’s harder to define: a simple feeling that greatness is in our future and in our picture.
If you weren’t born with that feeling can you cultivate it now? Without straining, without doubting, without mocking yourself, can you picture a little greatness coming?
It is sometimes said that most people fear greatness.
I wonder if they fear it or simply can’t see it.
Maybe they simply can’t picture it. It isn’t one of the things they see as their thoughts play themselves out on the inner stage of their mind.
What if they let a conviction of greatness dance there? What if they felt greatness as simply as they felt hunger or sexual desire?
What sort of difference might it make if they opened up to a beautiful, effortless, haunting sense of greatness as their destiny?
Maybe it would make all the difference in the world.