The Path Of The Artist

Now I am not saying you need to go out and become a rockstar or anything. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and I don't expect anyone to conform to my areas of interest. I am just saying that you must elevate whatever you do to an art form! One of the best ways to have natural confidence is to be passionate about what you do, and do it well! I will never forget the summer of '92. I was volunteering with a local church in Mexico, helping to build houses for poverty-stricken families. I met this cool dude named Chuck who was a bit of a veteran of these expeditions. He taught me alot about building houses and just being a generally handy guy. We were starting from scratch, so the first step was to dig out gaping craters in the earth to lay down the foundation. We didn't have a budget for bulldozers so it took like 30 volunteers to get the job done. I have never shoveled so much! After just one day, my hands were covered in blisters and I actually had to stop. I could not help but admire Chuck, who was skinnier and shorter than me, yet barely broke a sweat and managed to shovel out twice as much dirt in half the time. What perplexed me even more than this was the fact that while he was not good-looking at all (bad acne and a BIG hawk-nose), all the girls had crushes on him. Of course I was the guy they confided in because I was "one of the girls" back then (argh!!!) Their attraction baffled me because not only was he not handsome, but he would barely speak more than two words to them! He just exuded a very strong presence. One day I got up the nerve and asked him what his secret was. He stopped what he was doing and looked me in the eye and said, "Mr. Fingers, there is no secret. I just love what I do so much that nothing else matters to me. I am in my own world when I work, time is irrelevant and my mind is free from encumbering thoughts. I am simply happy to be doing this job!"

I was blown away by this attitude and in the following weeks we became great friends. He taught me so many valuable lessons, but most importantly, he made me realize the reason why I wanted to be an artist. It was because art/music was the one thing that put my frantic mind to rest. I could play the guitar for hours and become so totally immersed in what I was DOING that I simply stopped THINKING. It is my sincerest wish that you would learn this lesson for yourself! If you are unsure where your talent lies, try to remember anything that interested you as a child, something you were always naturally good at, or think of someone you admired. Doesn't matter how silly it may seem, just travel deep within yourself and find that one thing (there is probably more than one!) you can do that makes you forget where you are, what time it is, etc. If you truly believe you have no talent, you need to look deeper my friend. It is crazy how many people I know that are so talented and don't even know it! Some are great with numbers, others good at listening and interpreting, others are wizards in the kitchen, but since it doesn't fit the mold of what talent is in their minds, they discredit themselves. They fail to understand that you become an artist when you get in tune with your inner calling and make it a major focus of your life. If you ever think that your talent is worthless or stupid, just think of Chuck, the man who made an art form of digging ditches! Now, a lot of people might think you are nuts to pursue your dreams instead of getting a 9-5 till you retire and die with a whimper like you're supposed to. That's when you need to ask yourself...


I used to worry endlessly what people thought of me. If I felt someone didn't like me or approve of my actions, it would eat me up inside and I would go out of my way to please them and prove how cool I was. What a waste! I could have written 100 songs or built 20 houses with the time and energy I wasted trying to please others. Let me put it this way. One of the most powerful tools you have as a human being is your attention. Focus it on others and watch how their every move takes on heightened importance. Focus it on what you DO and watch your own life take on a new meaning. It's all how you look at things. When you encounter a new person, are you entering Their World, or are they entering Your World? Next time you meet someone, hot babe or not, realize that they are entering Your World and you are sharing YOUR experience with them. In fact, consider it your gift to them! They are indeed fortunate to meet you because you are rare, my friend! How many AFC's do you know are content to complain about their problems with women instead of doing something about it? The fact that you are reading this right now shows that you are one step ahead of the whining masses. Give yourself some credit, man! But hey, don't get too complacent there. A pat on the back is great once in a while but the road to improvement has no end. Look at all the people who made a difference throughout history. Christ, Martin Luther King, Einstein, Edison, Picasso. They never reached a point where they were like, "alrighty then, I have accomplished alot of things, I guess my work is done here!" You can also bet that, although they were all accused of insanity or heresy, they couldn't give a wad of horse $hit what anyone thought of them. Which brings up another valuable point. You must stand up for yourself! Even if it means you have to be a pri^k, never let anyone disrespect or take advantage of you. If someone, cute girl or not, flakes on you or fu^ks you over somehow, don't put up with it! Either ignore them completely or confront them! If they pout and bit^h, well then tough titties man, banish them from your world and stop caring if they like you or not. Whatever it takes, don't ever give your personal power away to the weight of what other's think of you. It is a trap almost as diabolical and magnetic as...


"I think, therefore I am" This statement alone defines the mentality of modern civilization. It permeates our culture, education and media. As a result, we have been conditioned to identify ourselves and the world through an internal filter of logic. We all have this dialogue going on in our heads. We think about past/future events, obsess over women/money/bull$hit and use our powers of observation to categorize the unfathomably infinite universe into comfortable, logical chunks. This internal voice, while it has its value, often numbs us to our experiences. Instead of seeing a fragrant eucalyptus tree we have never seen before and admiring it's unique fractal patterns, our minds chime in with "Oh, It's a tree" and destroys the magic of the experience. We apply dead words to harness the dynamics of nature into concrete terms and end up seeing the world from a very boring perspective. The same applies to how you see people, including yourself! Unlike the concrete state of language, nothing in this world stays the same. Did you know that every 7 years, all of the cells in your body have been replaced? In other words, you are a completely different person every 7 years! Every day we change but the mind is the one thing that can stay rigid and unyielding your whole life. I would say that not only confidence, but personal evolution comes from mastering this internal dialogue, changing your thought patterns and at times being able to shut them down completely. Some accomplish this through meditation, others through music and art, others through physical exertion. I like to combine all three and dance personally, but as I said before, there are many paths to finding your true self. The first step here is to become aware that you have mental noise pollution. Pay attention to your thoughts! Make it a habit to ask yourself "Where am I?" and "What time is it?" The answer should always be "Here & Now". Anytime you find your thoughts drifting to another time, past or future, or thinking about that perfect woman who ignores you, it is your I.D. making you daydream, so WAKE UP & snap back to the present! This is the only moment you have any control over so seize the power of NOW! Even if you are sitting in a waiting room, admire the texture of the carpet, memorize the details around attention to the sounds! This is a fascinating world we live in, so whatever you do, don't be bored!

Remember that dreams are mere fantasies without ACTION. Find your calling, defeat the negativity in your head and plunge forward! This is really important so pay attention DON'T GET DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU MESS UP! Man, I fu^k up all the time and pull maneuvers that would make AFC's say "What were you thinking, Fingers?" But I don't beat myself up over this because it is all a lesson! You only fail when you have given up on yourself. Don't let that inner voice tell you what a loser you are. Shut that fucker up by reminding yourself that each "failure" is just a stepping stone to victory. And don't fall into the helpless victim trap of "I am so unlucky...poor me" In the end both good and bad fortune are just illusions. It's all about how you look at it. An ancient parable to illustrate my point:

An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day the horse ran away.

"How terrible," sympathized the neighbors. "What bad luck!" "Who knows whether it is bad or good luck" replied the farmer.

A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.

"What wonderful luck!" said the neighbors.

"Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?" answered the old man.

The next day the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.

"How horrible. What bad luck!"

"Bad luck? Good luck?"

The army came to all the farms to take young men for war, but the farmer's son was of no use to them, so he was spared. "Good? Bad?"

Things are often not what they seem to be. Take the good, the bad and the ugly all in stride. This does not mean you should be stone cold and impervious to everything that happens to you. Don't suppress your emotions, rather embrace them fully! When tragedy strikes, CRY and let those feelings flow so you can let them go. When success comes your way, celebrate to the fullest. When you encounter injustice, get pissed off and do something about it! Be natural and try not to think of what you are "supposed" to feel. And for chrissakes don't take yourself so seriously!

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