My stepfather was a fisherman. He was someone with a strong sense of ethic. He rarely made a mistake with his family whether we are talking about his parents or us, my mum, my sister and I, his adopted family. To this day, I live by his philosophy.
For example, one day he explained the difference between being clever and being intelligent.
It went something like this:
Let’s suppose that you do a bad thing. That could happen. You get caught and to avoid facing the music you decide to lie. Your hope, of course, is that it’ll blow over and boom! just like that, you can go back to your normal routine. After all, it was just a little lie.
Now, that is possible that whatever you did can be covered by your words. But let’s say that it’s not. You are again in the predicament of either facing the music or lie. Most of the time, the lies will continue. Side note to all these lies: it allows you to make you look like a victim and get people’s compassion. What a bonus!
Almost inevitably, at this point, the cycle will keep going: more lies to cover your lies.
– So, what should I do? I asked him.
– Don’t lie.
– And face the consequences, even if they are horrible?
– That’s right. But there is also another way.
– Is there?
– You can also take it to the root and do the right thing.
– Like not lying?
– Like not do something bad to start with.
– Ah! Yes… That’s hard though. Life is tricky.
– That’s why you got that thing between your ears.
– My hair?
– Your brain.
– Right! But what if I mess up?
– That’s my point: anticipate the effects of your actions and your words, calculate the impact of your behavior. And, if you are truly forced to do something questionable, assume the consequences. Don’t be a victim, stand up as a responsible human being.
– I see.
– That’s the difference between being clever and being intelligent.
– Meaning what?
– Someone clever lies, cheats and deceives to cover his tracks. Someone intelligent doesn’t need to do that, he has thought long and hard about what is the right course and knows that it won’t harm or hurt anyone. He just won’t do anything that he can’t talk about openly. No need to lie. If questioned, he is prepared to face his judges and explain what he had done.
How does that relate to music? I have a lot of very touchy subjects to talk about when I train someone to be a pro. The words of my stepfather are always present in my mind. In the treacherous world of music, they are about the most precious thing I can think of. They have served me extremely well. I encourage everyone to do the same.