Sunday, October 4, 2009

Being Greedy

Over the past year, I have been committed to stretching beyond my comfort zone and engaging my full capability in the world. I'm not there yet. Granted, it's a moving target, since my capability will hopefully continue to grow in different ways. But, there are still some things that keep me from allowing myself to shine as brightly as I could be. A year ago, I was placing the blame on external circumstances, but when I look at things honestly, most of the limitations are still coming from the same place they always have been. Me.

In the noblest part of me, I want what I create to contribute to making a more harmonious world. This goes for musical creations and otherwise. I want my music to be a part of creating a sustainable culture of grace, integrity, and gratitude. So, when someone asks what I want to do with my music, the answer has been deepening even as it has grown in clarity. It's certainly a long range goal, but there is no honest reason for me to avoid working toward it right now.

It has been more challenging for me to pin down an answer to the question: How much money do you want to make from your music? In some moments, I don't really believe I deserve anything for it, and in others I am disheartened that some of my pieces haven't earned more. When I try out a dollar figure, though, it often strikes me as being greedy. I somehow lose sight of what I actually want to create when money enters the picture. It becomes a bit of a stumbling block.

What I am realizing is that, although money is not the end in and of itself, it is a significant factor in allowing my music to have the impact I want. It seems logical to conclude that if I want what I create to make a difference in the world, it would have to be out in the world being heard or experienced. And if I earn money because of royalties, it means that my music has been out in the world being heard. Which means that when I cling to a belief that I am being greedy if I want my music to earn money, I am actually working against any efforts I may take toward putting it out into the world. I am at cross purposes with myself.

While I don't know what is possible, I do know that I have been in some ways keeping myself from reaching as far as I can be. I am willing to let go of the "greedy" label. What I actually want is more valuable to me than the lie.

1 comment:

  1. I think the "greedy" label is misplaced in your case. Yes, you care if your music makes money because, like everyone, you have to put food on the table and the image of the starving artist is less glamorous in reality than it is in many peoples' minds. But on the other hand, you care about getting your music out and touching people with it, changing the world with it. While "how much money did it make?" can be a used as a measure of this, it isn't, in and of itself, important to you (as you've said).
    So, greed ((n.)an overwhelming desire to have more of something such as money than is actually needed) isn't really a factor here. Proper compensation for effort is the first step in inducing creativity in any arena. Once we are not concerned about putting food on the table, we are free to expand our minds and explore our limits. Greed is actually a detriment to that. Remind me some day to tell you about the candle problem...