Byte-Sized Guide to Principles

I’ll cut to the chase: traditional goal-setting doesn’t work. Why? Because (sexist language aside),

Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (cited in Transitions)

In the past, I’d set detailed goals from 5-year plans to daily to-do lists, and life would get in the way of all of it. What I’ve found works better are guiding principles that can be followed regardless of any transition.

Nanoversity of Jazz was borne out of a major life transition. I never set a goal to transition from being a bassist, instructor, and perpetually emerging author to bandleader, online consultant, and blogger/videocaster. I did it out of personal and financial necessity. While I know it’ll take people a while to get used to the new professional identity, I’m confident I’m on the right track.

My five principles for Nanoversity of Jazz (and life in general) are outlined on the index card (the ultimate tool for byte-sized information) above.

  1. Be helpful: In any creative and/or professional endeavor, you must ask yourself, “Am I being of service to others?” If not, it’s just narcissistic pretentiousness.
  2. Be responsible: While you can’t always be on top of your game, you can always choose to be proactive, ethical, and professional.
  3. Be competent: I don’t practice anymore – I work. If I’m not teaching, performing, or composing (or preparing for any of them), I put the instruments down and work on developing as a writer, instructional designer, entrepreneur, etc.
  4. Be engaged: Like many, I’ve had extensive wish-lists of different relationships and experiences. What I’ve learned, however, is that if you can’t be present and mindful in your current relationships and experiences (as well as being open to new ones), you’ll never be satisfied with anything.
  5. Be healthy: After years of highly restrictive diets and intense exercise routines, I’ve settled in on a more balanced approach by just listening to my body. I try to eat healthy most of the time, splurge occasionally, sleep as much as I need, and move constantly (usually walking and gentle yoga). I’m not as thin as I have been in the past, but I’m a lot happier (and healthier).

What are your principles for life and music?

Author: Leah Pogwizd

Bassist and Instructor

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