That carpet is looking mighty high!

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

I have spent most of my life living in and traversing between two supposedly similar cultures (and a few sojourns into other more obviously diverse civilizations, too).

Believe me, the UK and the USA are not that similar in many ways!

One thing that strikes me as interesting, though, is how much both the British and the US Americans have a propensity to brush things under the carpet. Sweep things under the rug. Ignore reality. Pretend there’s nothing wrong.

“How you doing?”

“Fine,” lies the Brit.

“How are you?”

“Good. How are you?” reels off the I’m-trying-to-be-polite-but-really-don’t-want-to-know US Citizen.

When things get particularly bad we try to wipe the slate clean and literally start again, from changing careers or moving location, to bankruptcy and even divorce.

But it never seems to work.

The reason?

We don’t deal with “issues.”

It’s difficult dealing with issues, particularly nasty ones we don’t like such as differences of opinions, agreed-upon expectations being cast aside, our wishes and dreams being ignored, and our efforts going to waste. Sometimes it’s even more difficult to admit there is an issue, and worse: that we might be directly contributing to the issue! Heaven forbid I could be at fault and be causing my own strife!

(Remember: the 80s and 90s saw a huge spike in self-esteem boosting, which has resulted in an entire generation that now has no confidence and no understanding of the impact of their own actions. Everything they did was praised. I’ve written about that before, too).

No, if you want to accomplish more than you ever thought possible, you must deal with the unpleasantries:

  1. Recognize there is an issue
  2. Appreciate we have a role in it
  3. Have an honest and open discussion (which means listening more than rebutting)
  4. Decide on a course of corrective action
  5. Take that action, and
  6. (This could be the hardest part) be wary about reverting back to old habits, routines, behaviors and expectations that caused the issue in the first place.

It’s a simple solution, but not an easy or pleasant one.

But it really is the only way to move forward in life.

Don’t worry about how high the carpet is from how much you’ve brushed under it. Just take the next issue that rears its ugly head, and deal with it, honestly. Soon the carpet will be at floor level again and nobody, not even you, will trip over it.

The thing about trying something different and putting it “out there” into the big wide world, is that there is no hiding. There is no carpet to brush things under. You’re on a hard, unabsorbing marble floor with no cover.

Like my new podcast, for example.

Sometimes I cringe when I hear what I said, how I said it, or what I did, and wonder “why did I do that? And STILL shared it?!”

Then I remind myself: it’s the only way to learn, to get better, to help people.

If I don’t turn my ideas into something tangible and share them, what worth are they? Nada. And if folk don’t tell me how those ideas impact their lives, what worth do my actions have? Nada. It’s a two-way thing. Like dealing with issues.

So, go ahead and let me know what you liked and what you didn’t about From The Podium‘s pilot episodes. Your responses will help make the show so much better!