“It’s like a blessing and a curse to feel passionately about something because your job’s never done, you’ve never gotten anywhere. People will say, ‘you’re great at this’ and that means a lot and that’s great but you can’t ever think that you’ve gotten anywhere or that you’re anything. ‘Cause the second you start thinking that then it just becomes empty and cold and meaningless. You have to be in this state of always becoming, always changing, never thinking that you’re good at anything. Always thinking, always knowing in the back of your head that it could be better for you – not for anyone else.”
– Anthony Green
This is certainly not the first time that something Circa Survive lead vocalist Anthony Green said inspired me. And I can guarantee you that it won’t be the last time either.
Known for his intense and passionate on-stage performances (see here for one of my favorites), Green loves what he does and it shows. The above quote, which comes from the end of this video, truly speaks to me when I think about what it means to be passionate about something and how you always have to be searching for new ways to express yourself.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” Green states. Really think about what that means. The fact that Green gets to write and perform music for a living is a blessing; for me, my blessing is in the field of writing – my preferred method of expressing my ideas and true feelings. Writing is one of my true talents and I have certainly received praise for my skill over the years.
Why should it be a curse too? “You’ve never gotten anywhere” is the answer. Even if you’re an accomplished musician and songwriter like Green is, there is always a future that appears brighter. If you’re passionate about anything – a hobby, an organization, a sports team – you know that you will likely find yourself spending a lot of time fixated on whatever that passion of yours may be. If you feel the need to give up or move toward something different, were you ever really passionate about that particular thing in the first place? Remember, “your job’s never done.”
The other part of this alleged curse, as Green points out, has to deal with compliments. I am a very humble person and while compliments are nice I feel that they can sometimes have a negative effect. It’s like the child that works so hard to get an ‘A’ on their report card in the fall, receives a gift for their success and then stops caring in the spring. Don’t get me wrong, some creative minds need compliments, guidance and frequent motivation to succeed and they wouldn’t be where they are without them. For me, if I get a compliment at work I just say, “No need to thank me, I’m just doing my job.” Likewise, if one of my Loquitur articles is prasied for being well-written or having a strong lead, I say thank you but at the same time I feel a burning desire to make my next article even better. And God knows how many stories I will write in college (and post-college) that make me say to myself, “I can do better.”
This probably sounds like I’m being unconditionally hard on myself, but that’s just my work ethic. When applied to writing, my passion and strength, it shines through more but only because I consciously decide that I want it to. I don’t want my ideas to be cold or meaningless, I don’t want to start slacking off whenever I receive a compliment. I’m passionate about so many different things in my life right now and I constantly feel the need to remind myself of them.
I want to be always changing, always embracing new things and always striving to create something memorable, even though I know the next thing I do will have to be better. What if I didn’t have this mindset? Then, in my eyes, I would be letting myself, my friends and my peers down, not to mention those who took time out of their lives to believe in me. Think of winning an award, maybe a baseball player winning the MVP title at season’s end, and then saying, “I’m the best. There’s nothing more I need to do.”
Back comes that meaningless feeling. One season of success will get you an award; multiple seasons of success will get you fame and perhaps a spot in the Hall of Fame. An MVP award doesn’t mean your job is done, just like an exceptional report card means you don’t have to pay attention in class anymore. I’ve been telling people for years that Anthony Green is my hero for more than just his voice. The above quote (and probably this entire post) show you why – he loves what he does and he believes in himself. But he strives to always be better, no matter how many times people thank him for his beautiful lyrics or how many times people download and listen to Circa’s albums.
What Green stresses is not only about passion but also about life and where it takes you. You can never stop working hard and you can never stop believing. If you want to do something extraordinary (I love this word), then go do it. You need to become the person that you want to become and you need to push yourself to get there. Never forget who you are, what your passions are or what you have accomplished. Most importantly, never stop believing that you can do better or thinking that there’s nothing new you can strive for.
Truly, these are words to live by. There’s a purpose for everything in life and we should always try to live life to the fullest and with passion in our words and actions.
Always becoming and always changing. Always.