When to listen

If according to Barry Moltz it isn’t necessarily success or failure that should guide us to learn or evolve, then what should?

Frankly, I think coincidence and irony, or their absence, are a far better indicator of places in life to pause and listen. I agree with Barry that success and failure can simply be just that. We don’t have to always learn a big lesson or believe that this success has moved us to a new level of accomplishment. Sometimes our success or failure is an isolated event. Period.

Instead, I like to think that when things are working, bending, moving in a direction that serves our artistic core, feeds our families and nourishes our souls, that the place we can most likely learn from comes from our friends, Coincidence and Irony, who spring up around us, when things are working, like weeds in our lives.

Do you remember the last time Coincidence and Irony popped up and paid you a visit? What happened? I bet if you think about it something positive, true to your core and meaningful was happening just about then.

I also find the further we get from ourselves and our true needs that Coincidence and Irony have skipped off to visit elsewhere and have gone missing.

Last week I spent most of the week at The University of Texas in Austin giving three days of workshops on creative career development to fine arts students and alumni. I had mostly success there. I have at least six brave souls willing to work on developing their artistic careers asking for a piece of my time to help them on their journey. Ah, how my heart beats peacefully with the thought of helping them. I also had many positive comments from staff and students about my workshops.

But I also had a failure in that I was not successful at getting through to everyone I spoke to on the value of self esteem building in the arts, and the reasons why we must build vibrant career paths in new ways to destroy the notion that for another two hundred plus years we must continued to be labeled starving artists.

Not everyone was compelled to act enthusiastically from my work there.. but six brave souls were.

Did I succeed or did I fail?

Frankly, I am not sure I really care. What was far more interesting to me was watching Coincidence and Irony surface around Roxana, The Blue Angel, who was brave enough to come and tell her story.

When we arrived she shared with me that her hotel room number was 211, the numbers that signified the street address of the job she just left. And after the presentation she participated in, someone Roxana had not seen in years, but who’s name she had ironically mentioned to me out of the blue the day before and was quite fond of, just happened to appear from the audience to greet her enthusiastically.

So, the next time you focus on your success or on your failure, instead, I would encourage you to look for your friends Coincidence and Irony. As long as they are close to you or someone you know, pay attention.

While their absence can sometimes be worrisome in our life, it simply means we need to remember who we are and focus on what our heart is calling us to do. It can be the hardest thing in life or the simplest- it just all depends on how much you are willing to listen to what you need to do, instead of focus on the outcome.

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