It's All In Your Head

by John Pellegrini

We've all been saying over the years that production people get everything inside their head before they ever complete something in the studio. You hear your vision, and so on. However, the best way to expand your creativity is to expand your vision. Expand you imagination. Expand your mind, so to speak. Free up your head to new realities. Jeez, I sound like a '60s drug guru!

Possibly the hardest personal trait that requires overcoming, if we are to move ahead in any direction, is the trait known as "Tunnel Vision." Not only is it hard to get rid of, it's also even more difficult to discover in ourselves. Tunnel Vision, and its relatives, "Closed-mindedness," "Skepticism," and "Cynicism," are responsible for more human waste than any other source of pollution on the planet.

No one likes to think of themselves as a bad person, or as someone who is incompetent, or as a person who is worthless. You would, hopefully, never think that way of yourself. You don't need to, because we have so many examples around us of people who are. Right? Politicians, Government Employees, and especially those morons who work in stores or restaurants who can never do what you tell them to.

That's Tunnel Vision. You have it. I have it. We all have it. The inability to accept any one else's agenda. The inability to allow any viewpoints or interests in our consciousness apart from ones that reflect our own, narrow-minded focus.

"I don't care about the details, just give me the bottom line."

"If only you people would just get your act together, you'd get things done."

"The situation in the world today is hopeless and futile, so why bother with anything? Just do for yourself."

"The people I work for are such idiots! How can they ignore such an obvious mistake! If they'd only listen to me, I could tell them everything they're doing wrong."

Each one of those statements are blatant examples of someone with Tunnel Vision, limited outlook, focused only on themselves, and not the rest of the world. We are told that cynicism is healthy. Ditto skepticism. I'm discovering that it's a crock to be cynical and skeptical because all those traits do is cause you to waste time.

Yes, waste time. I know that usually you'd think that someone who was cynical or skeptical would be able to save him or herself from a lot of time wasting because they're suspicious of "being taken." The problem is, with a cynical attitude, you begin to suspect that everything is a waste of time, so you do exactly nothing except watch TV, where you see the lousy news broadcast from around the world, proving that there is no hope, and your choice to ignore it was the correct one.

But is it? Consider for a second what might happen if you actually acted on your compassion, rather than your cynicism. You might actually get "involved." You might actually go out and do "something," which would join the "efforts" of others who are doing "something," which might cause "change" in a "positive" way and suddenly, you've made a "difference!"

No, that would be impossible because nobody can make a difference. Just look at all the crap that's happening in the world. Watch CNN. Read the newspapers. Nothing but Doom and Gloom. Why bother?

What if your boss thought that? What if he or she had decided that there was no need for a production person. The air staff could still just voice it all themselves, and the sales staff could write the spots. Other stations do that, why not us? What if the owner of your radio station had thought that way? What if they had thought that the amount of money it takes to start a radio station just isn't worth the return in profits. You'd be out of a job, my friend. What if your parents had thought that way and figured that the world was worthless, so why bring children in to it? You wouldn't be here. What if your ancestors, whenever it was, had decided that, well things are bad here in our country, but going to this new land called America is too much of a risk. It's too high a price to pay for this idea called freedom.

Millions of people did think that. Millions of people came to America, but even more stayed behind, stayed in Europe during the World Wars, stayed in the Middle East during all their unrest, stayed in Asia during all their problems. Now I know that RAP is read internationally, and to you who are there, know that I'm not denigrating this at all. I'm trying to prove a point. Your ancestors, too, had to struggle. They had to have a tenacity to survive and to thrive. But they, along with our ancestors who came here, didn't give up just because it became uncomfortable.

They couldn't have. All around us we see the benefits of those who refuse to believe that some sort of struggle isn't worth whatever price you have to pay. It's just simple: focus on what you want, then do what you have to do to get it. And don't quit. But have enough sense and vision to realize that you need to look beyond yourself and beyond your little world to make things happen. The bigger your goal, the more you must change.

Did you know that Henry Ford nearly bankrupted his own company? Five years after he introduced the Model T, Ford Motor Company was in serious trouble. Sales were grinding to a halt. Why? Because Henry Ford made his Model T in black. To him, that was the only color a car should be. The Model T was the only car that people needed, and black was the only color it needed to be. End of story. You want a different color? Too bad. It's black, and that's all, so live with it. This is the only color we make, and this is the only color you need. Sure, he offered different sizes, bigger engines, more cargo space, more passenger room. But only in black.

Why? Colors cost more money. Black was cheapest of all the paints. If you were going to add more colors, then you'd need to put in extra painting equipment for each color that you were going to offer because you can't run two different colors though the same paint hoses without bleed through of the different colors. Ford Motor Company would lose profits if they had to add more equipment to start mixing other color schemes.

What happened? Other car companies came along with cars in different colors. Suddenly, the Model T was forgotten by the public because now they could chose what color they wanted. There's a novel concept: give people a chance to choose for themselves what they want.

Henry Ford didn't see it that way. He had built the perfect car and had chosen the perfect color. Nobody needed anything else. He refused to listen to his dealers, refused to listen to his sales staff, refused to listen to his advisors. He liked it the way it was, black, and that was good enough. Finally the board of directors of the Ford Motor Company overruled him. And they nearly fired him in the process. Things eventually settled and stabilized, and the company regained its status. Henry stayed on, but he never forgave his board of directors for what they did, and to the day he died, he maintained that color options were a mistake, a mistake that made him one of the richest men in the world.

Jack Goekin never intended to create a multi-billion dollar business. He just wanted to fill a void that was needed in the communications business. He never even wanted to destroy the largest corporate monopoly on the planet. He just wanted to give truckers a better way to communicate with their home terminals between Chicago and St. Louis. He saw a need, and he saw a solution. By using microwave repeater transmitters, he could send radio dispatches all along Route 66, and truckers, with simple two-way radios, could communicate continuously with their offices in both cities.

So he started a company called Microwave Communications, Incorporated. He and six others put up three thousand dollars to get started. Except that American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) decided that he could not have the rights to do it. They were the largest monopoly in the world at that time, and they controlled all communications on the planet. They refused him the right to start his own communications company, except that they really didn't own the rights. So Jack rounded up some legal help, and sued AT&T for monopolizing all communications. He won. And in the process, his company, MCI, now has 20 percent of the world's telecommunications business.

If it wasn't for MCI, we'd all still be on copper wire phone service, and you can forget your modems or satellite links. AT&T didn't want to offer those services, and they fought anyone who tried to create them. That's why IBM and other computer companies joined MCI in their suit against AT&T. Until MCI came along, AT&T decided for you what kind of phone service you were going to have, and they charged you one rate which you paid without choice.

But Jack really didn't want that. He just wanted to offer the service to the truckers. In order to get it, he had to bring about the breakup of AT&T's monopoly on communications. Once that was done, he wanted his company to focus on the truckers between Chicago, and St. Louis. Eventually, he and his company parted ways because the public wanted more than he was willing to offer, and his company's directors, as well as Bill McGowan, the financial director of MCI (and the man who replaced Jack), wanted to offer those services.

I've simplified the events of both the stories here so that I could fit them into this article. Obviously, there's more to each of them. The point of these two stories is: how limited is your vision? Do you see potential, and if so, how far? If you believe yourself to be limited to just maintaining because the "experts" tell you it's hopeless, then ask another "expert." "Of all things," writes Marcus Aurelias, "ask this questions: what is its nature?" Are the "experts" you're paying attention to "experts" because they themselves have done what you seek to do? Or are they "experts" because they read a book that told them they couldn't?

Also, ask if they are professional critics, one who is paid to have an attitude against your ideas. Are their own interests going to be corrupted if they are proven to be incorrect? Will they lose credibility if you succeed? Then you have to ask yourself: is this person going to pay me for the rest of my life to live by his or her standards? Or will I stand a better chance by pursuing my own vision and goals? It's your life, and you can choose whom you want to live it for. But, it's better if you live it for yourself, and do what you believe in.

Be cynical, and nothing gets done. Focus on the trivia, and only trivial things will be accomplished. As Brother Theodore said, "You can spend ten years training a rat, but at the end of those ten years, all you'll have is a trained rat." What are your goals? Are you training rats, or are you making possibilities happen? Be positive, and see the opportunities. Focus on the possibilities, and the impossible will be done. Remember, you have to make it happen. You have to make the changes necessary for those possibilities to happen. Yes, people will tell you it's not worth it, but you'll discover that those people have never done it. Anyone who has will tell you that it is more than worth it to see your dreams and goals come to reality.

Of course, we all know that if you don't make it in this life, there's always the next one...(?)

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