Can't imagine

February 2, 2013

Think of a song you've been into lately. Think about those five minutes that makes you feel something. Sometimes it's so good a part of you wells up inside. Then you discover another of a million other amazing songs and you move on.

Now think about the group of people who made that song possible. Your favorite bands release a new album maybe once every couple years, if you're lucky. What takes them so long? We take those five minutes for granted.

What do you think about when you're laying in bed at night when you can't sleep? What do you think your favorite musicians are thinking about when they're laying in bed at night when they can't sleep? They're thinking about that song. They're thinking about that song for weeks. Maybe months. That one, single song. Something that is a blip in everyone else's universe.

And that is amazing. I can't even imagine what it's like to think about music so deeply for so much of your day. I don't know what to think about when it comes to music. I see the end result but I can't understand the effort. And you know what? Everything that's worth experiencing comes from people putting hundreds of hours of effort per five minutes of consuming it.

Take movies. 2-3 year production times are normal. If it takes a musician a year to release an hour of music, it makes sense for a crew of hundreds to take a couple years to release a big film. Everyone on the staff goes to sleep thinking about this movie for two years that you're going to watch in two hours. Every second, every word, every movement, every camera angle, every chord, every instrument, every costume, has come from someone's hard work and deep expertise.

Can you imagine trying to perfect a song for weeks at a time? Crafting the perfect lyrics, tweaking the melody, adjusting the mix, and whatever else they do. Do you think they grow tired of it? I'm sure it's stressful and maybe even miserable sometimes, but I'm also starting to think they like what they're making more than you or I ever will, even if we're their most rabid fans.

I've spent the better part of the last two years building and growing one thing. Same with the rest of our small team. We live and breathe what we do. It's what I think about when I can't sleep. And in that way, I can imagine the feeling of being a musician, a filmmaker, a writer, an actor, a carpenter, a restaurant owner, etc. We make and do things that some people don't understand but love. We build our skills to a level that no one has any idea what's going on in our heads. We spend our life to make a little part of someone else's better.

I can imagine it because if I take my two-year-younger self and have him look at me now, I would be as dumbfounded with what's going on in my head as I am with whatever went through the head of whoever made the amazing song I'm listening to right now. And I think you can do the same. What are you building? What do you do so when people look at you hard at work, they can't even imagine where to begin trying to understand what's going through your head? What do you do that makes people smile, laugh, or cry?