The world is full of suggestions, advice, “shoulds,” and opportunities. It doesn’t stop talking. But it doesn’t mean we’re always supposed to listen.
Learning when and when not to listen to the talkers of the world is a matter of discernment.
Discernment – an ability to grasp, comprehend, and judge which things of a particular kind are good or bad for you
Discernment takes knowing your values: what is most vital to you in order to maintain artistic growth and satisfaction.
Finding Your Values
Projects or opportunities that don’t align with your values cause pause and a moment of held breath when you consider them.
Projects or opportunities that resonate with you in some way cause you to breathe in with a smile and excitement.
These visceral reactions give insight into what truly resonates with you as you navigate the world and all its aspirations. It’s important here, though, to establish the difference between “liking” everything you’re doing and viewing projects as what they are: stepping stones to artistic growth and satisfaction.
Discernment and Mentorship
One of the most important acts we do at every stage of training and life is choose a mentor – the person who has traits we want for ourselves, successes we want for ourselves, and perhaps a satisfaction with life that we want for ourselves. This mentor is someone whose word we trust above most others in the world. It is usually a person with more life experience: sometimes a teacher, sometimes a colleague, sometimes a belief system, and sometimes someone we’ve never met but whose writings or teachings align with our values.
An effect of practicing discernment is an acknowledgment of music as a long haul pursuit. The road to mastery is long, and as some would argue, never ends. Realizing that we may not “like” everything along the road is a matter of maturity and perspective.
Discernment helps us find congruency in decisions about where we focus our energies. The world’s “shoulds” and suggestions never stop coming, but we can use discernment to identify which ones are clearly not for us. Saying no to the noise is just as important as saying yes to the voices that will put us on a path for artistic growth and satisfaction.
“And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.”
- Desiderata, Max Ehrmann, 1927