Life tries to remind me of this lesson every so often: stop concentrating so hard about what you think works and look around at what is working.
That goes for the job, companies, ideas, hit songs, art, etc. The message is to reverse engineer whatever is resonating, no matter how much you “don’t get it.”
Technically speaking in bumper-sticker terms: “Not getting it” = “if it’s too loud, you’re too old.”
If anything – when you don’t get it, it’s all the more reason to dive in.
This weekend Ted Seides shared the following in his monthly letter:
A good friend was telling me about a wise professor he had when studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He and his classmates had been scoffing at the latest top 40 hit when his professor, an accomplished songwriter and producer, put a halt to the conversation and said, “It’s a hit. There is genius somewhere in that song – you want to be musicians… find it!”
Ted’s big takeaway, which he aptly labeled “Life-changing question number one…Where is the genius?” is well heard.
Always know what’s working and what’s not. If you want to take it one step further, try to have a view on what would change it too.
In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “you can observe a lot by just watching.” It will never cease to amaze me the advantages you can gain just by paying attention, just by being willing to ask “where is the genius?”