Inside the Mind of Phoenix M. Rose
Faithful and Stupid

There is a fine line between foolishness and unwavering certainty, between audacity and stupidity, between greatness and insanity.

A fool and a genius share many of the same qualities— both ignore everything and everyone, focusing only upon one certain aspect of an ideal or a goal.

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell which you are.  Every great person who truly strives to achieve something beyond the bounds of the average takes a leap of faith, and must often work without result for years.  One of my favorite quotes that comes from Stoicism is “be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”  

If you truly feel confidence in your path, and you have a strong connection with your intuition and a passionate desire to make something happen, then indeed you should feel content to be thought foolish and stupid.  Just as J.K. Rowling endured rejections from 12 out of 13 publishers, and the Beatles were turned down by the majority of the record labels they contacted, every genius must endure through this stage of failure.

I see it as a test…only the people who are truly dedicated to their craft will continue in spite of a lack of appreciation, in spite of blatant failure.  A genius is someone who believes so strongly in his or her mission that even after falling face first into the concrete, s/he gets back up with even greater enthusiasm.

Our greatest failures are often turning points in our lives.  They teach us a lot about who we are and what we really stand for.  It’s not uncommon for us to become discouraged by failure, but I see it as a sign of how much we can make it through and still be okay.  The beauty of failure is that the sting passes with time, and once we channel that pain to create more motivation, the results become even stronger and stronger.

Failure doesn’t knock us down, it simply tests how many times we are willing to get back up.  Failure constantly challenges us to become better at what we do and to become an even greater version of who we are.  Without failure, there would be no progress…no one would develop the strength to fight in the face of adversity.

Every person, successful or not, must face adversity; whether or not you have millions of dollars in the bank and you’re launching a new business venture or you just dropped out of school to pursue a passion, you’re facing adversity.  We all face different consequences, but all passionate people fight the same battle to stand for what we believe in, despite all odds.

When you know something is right, don’t quit.  Be that idiot that keeps going when every logical sign points the opposite direction.  Logic can solve a lot of problems, but it is always overridden but sheer unadulterated faith.

The Art Within Money

Anyone who believes that money is simply materialistic is…well, dead wrong.  Just because we can measure something doesn’t mean that our values truly ascribe meaning to it.  We can measure time, but that doesn’t mean we can fully grasp what time is, or that time even really exists outside of the relative way we see it.  Time, much like money, remains intangible and immeasurable.  
We can measure time in relation to the cycles of the sun, and we can measure money in relation to the value of gold, coconuts, or whatever economic standard or principles we choose.  But in reality, a rock of gold has no more inherent value than a rock of coal— we have simply chosen to instill more value because of the factors of rarity, beauty, and whatever else we choose.    
Often, the things that are most valuable to us are immeasurable in the limited terms of money.  The system of money is in fact flawed, as it fails to quantify most meaningful value, in the sense that we cannot put a price on love or happiness; but paradoxically, we can gain these through money (the happiness you receive from the Starbucks coffee, that costs you $4.50), but even in this context, the value of money is irrelevant in comparison to the amount of satisfaction received.   Why else would people pay so much money on Starbucks?— they’re not paying for coffee, they’re paying for the experience which gives them comfort and happiness.
An artist sees the inherent value of something, rather than the monetary value of it.  This is why so many artists can be satisfied living without money, instead choosing to appreciate the world for its inherent beauty and finding happiness within it, oftentimes free of charge.  So why do some paintings sell for thousands of dollars?  If we are truly measuring in terms of money, a painting is nothing but a $15 dollar canvas with $15 dollars worth of paint on it, and therefore shouldn’t have a value of more than $30.  But this is not the case.  With art, the monetary value tends to fall on either side of the spectrum, it’s either valueless, and doesn’t sell, or it is priceless, and sells for relatively astronomical amounts.  The existence of an “average artist” remains unthinkable, as opposed to the idea of the “average banker” or salesman, which is commonplace.  There is no measurable way to define the greatness of an artist— just because an artist can’t sell her paintings doesn’t mean they don’t hold the same greatness of those that have generated thousands of dollars, and vice versa.
Many artists have taken on the mindset that money is evil, or nonessential, but in reality this mindset deprives one of his greatest artistic resource.  Money is the palette with which an artist may paint the canvas of the world.  Some of the most colossal works of art come from big business, and the giant structures created in its name.  In reality, art and business cannot successfully exist without each other— just as a business needs creativity and innovation to thrive, so does art need salesmanship and marketing to make an impact.  If those in either field can learn to understand the principles of the other, and learn to implement them in conjunction with their current projects, then long-lasting, impacting success can be achieved.

Art and business are in fact part of the same ethereal substance, the world-transforming power that comes through ideas and uses these branches simply as vehicles for change and betterment of humanity.  We live in a paradoxical balance of seemingly opposing forces, which actually operate in the same way.  In reality, those on both sides must learn to think differently: just as a piece of art can be measured in dollars, so may a business be appreciated as a masterpiece.

Love The Process (Thoughts on Success #1)

Do you wish you had a better body, or more money, or that you could learn a new skill like playing an instrument? We all intuitively know what we want, what’s ironic about setting goals and achieving dreams is that often to get where we desire to be, we have to go through the exact opposite of what we want.

For instance, let’s say you want to be a rock star, and you can see yourself on stage rocking out on stage— it’s all you want. But to get there, you need to first learn how to play the guitar, you need to develop and learn and grow, and that’s not going to take place on center stage. Maybe in your heart you dream of the roaring applause you’ll experience one day, but before you can get there you have to get through the apathetic 15 person audiences and long tedious practice sessions.

Everyone wants to be in shape and look good, but very few grow to love the act of getting in shape, of dieting, of exercising daily, so their habits die off and the weight piles on.

In reality,these tests that we often dread aren’t so bad, they are simply the universe’s way of seeing how badly we want something. If you really want to be a rock star, you’d be willing to suffer through the nights where no one hears your music, in order to get to the place you want to be. If you really want to be in shape, you’ll be willing to fight through the pain…but actually it’s more than that.

It’s more than just fighting through what you don’t want to do, its about falling in love with it. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard came from an old guitar teacher, Mike Wheeler, and he said “you have to learn to love the process”. Whether it’s finally having that perfect body, making a million dollars, becoming a rock star, or anything else, the true key to success is falling in love with the daily growth and expansion that you will have to go through to get there. Just being a millionaire isn’t nearly as fun as becoming one. Picture your bank account steadily growing every day, knowing that you are making it grow. Picture your body becoming more toned and defined every day. Picture the crowds getting bigger and bigger as you get better and better. If you begin to shift your thinking this way, if you begin to fall in love with the process of becoming successful, then you will always be successful— it won’t matter if you lose all your life savings or if you have billions, because all you’ll be thinking about is growing every day, and you’ll love every moment of it.

Life is meant to be enjoyed— we often assume we won’t like the process (“I really don’t want to go to the gym today…”), but instead the key is to find enjoyment within the process. Instead of saying, I don’t like working out, start to think about the things you do like about it. Maybe you don’t like going to the gym, but that’s not the only option, maybe you like playing ultimate frisbee or doing yoga or swimming or climbing trees. If you do any of those activities enough, you’ll get in shape, so in reality the key is finding the process you love the most. Don’t think about what you’d love to be great at, think about what you’d love to get better at every day.

Success isn’t a destination, it’s an ongoing process— true success means constant reinvention, so fall in love with the process of taking small steps every day to reinvent yourself into a better you.

-Phoenix Murphy