Succeed Like John Mayer

I enjoy windows into another’s creative process.

There is an unspoken kinship amongst humanity, a deep and constant knowledge begging to be expressed–and therefore recalled–in the outside world. Ultimately, each of us must find our own way to share the message with others and the opportunity to see how someone else bridges the gap between “ethereal” and “tangible” fascinates me.

Over the last decade, John Mayer has risen to fame on the wings of his lyrical agility.

Though checkered by an uneven relationship with his own celebrity I(and the press it attracts), his talent for producing tracks which give voice to the “quarter-life crisis” and its anxieties is unmatched.

Recently, America was given the opportunity to peer into his brain a little.

He took the stage in New York for VH1’s Storytellers and described his songwriting brainstorms during breaks from playing various parts of his catalog.

He alluded to a few bars that traipsed through his head for months. He would sit with his guitar and “play it for hours” without any real idea what it was for or how it could be used. It was just there, persistent and unyielding, for him to toy with and shape to his satisfaction.

Tinkering with a simple trill led to his second major hit, “Your Body is A Wonderland.”

Being a writer, I instantly identified with the uneasy feeling of groping in the dark corners of the brain armed only with the certainty something meaningful is there. For days afterward, Mayer’s revealing soliloquies wandered through my mind as I pondered his undemanding and unhurried playfulness while pursuing progress.

Then, I asked the right question.

“Why do you have to be any different?”

I felt a sense of relief.  In an instant, “stop forcing it” calmed my jangling nerves. I thought, “You’re an arrogant ass, believing you have to write something perfect from the start.”

The moment was pure clarity—the lunacy of attempting to muscle an unprepared idea into something larger became unmistakable. It makes as much sense as polishing a diamond before you’re done digging it up.

How can you expect an exquisite outcome ahead of schedule?

Advancement is a series of short spurts.

Your ability to shine light on truth grows with time, as you grasp the magnitude of it.

It’s the way life has always worked.

When you strike out on the path focused on your own beliefs, faithful to the result, you are headed in the right direction.

Pace is irrelevant.

What matters is holding firm to your core values and being honest as you evaluate your performance, then correcting you course using subtle shifts.

This is how you attain the heights of your dreams.

Achievement is rooted in proceeding as yourself, guided by your principles to your ends. Patient adherence to the intuitive action plan oozing through your essence will always get you where you’re going.

And that’s how you succeed like John Mayer.

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