Today I want to talk to you about going outside the box. Too many times we follow the same path that everyone else is doing now or in the past. It’s time to blaze your own trail, do something different, take chances and be bold. I want to use Bob Dylan for our example today.
Imagine it’s 1965 we’re in the middle of the Vietnam War, there’s a lot of turmoil in the country (US), and you got Bob Dylan, the leading songwriter in the folk style. People looked up to him, the kids looked up to him, and he’s singing about political and social issues. When I’m talking about folk music, I’m talking about acoustic guitar, harmonica, and singing. His lyrics, his style, and his songs touched people. He was on top of the world, he had successful songs like “The Times They Are A-Changin.” Do you think he should play it safe and and just keep doing the same thing? Guess what he didn’t.
Come Sunday July 25th 1965, the Newport Folk Festival, he does something completely different. Matter of fact what he does gets people to boo him. He was ready for a change, people like Dylan always want to expand and do something different. People want to put others in a box and when this happens you’re somewhat limited. You want to get out of that box and do other things and explore other avenues.
For the festival Dylan got Mike Bloomfield on guitar and some of the members of the Paul Butterfield Band. Imagine a Folk Festival where people sitting around drinking wine and eating cheese, and Dylan comes out and electrifies them. Dylan is playing electric guitar, Mike Bloomfield is ripping Blues licks behind him, and the band is loud and a little over driven. Dylan blows people away. He plays 3 songs, “Maggie’s Farm”, “Like a Rolling Stone” which was just released, and “Phantom Engineer.”
People booed him. His loyal fans, people who looked up to him like a hero, boo him after the performance. Why is this? They couldn’t handle what he did. They couldn’t handle him changing it up, doing something different. They expected him to be this, but he wanted to be this over here. He took a big chance. Whenever you’re getting comfortable and your feeling some success and you feel like things are going well, making a change is risky. You have to be bold at that time but that’s exactly the time to do it. Don’t let people get too comfortable with who you are or what you’re doing.
By doing this Dylan opened up this new world. Now instead of just being Bob Dylan, the folk singer, now it’s Bob Dylan the folk rock or the rock singer. This is cool because not only did he open up his world to new avenues, and yes he probably lost some fans along the way, but he broke outside of that box.
There is a great video on Denzel Washington, he’s given a commencement speech at a college and he talks about the old IQ test, it’s 9 dots. You had to draw 5 lines through 9 dots without lifting the pencil. The only way to do it is to go outside the box.
Don’t get trapped doing the same thing over and over again, change it up on people, and keep people guessing. It’s just the way that you’re going to progress and move forward, and you’re actually going to grow. Your going to gain new audiences and expose yourself to new people. Yeah some of the people who like you the way you are, they may talk bad, they may even boo you, but you got to keep changing, you got to be bold, and you got to go outside of the box
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Music by Per Kjeller http://www.perkjellermusic.com