I’m convinced that no genuine success occurs except as a natural expression of the human heart’s search for meaning. Yes, there are plenty of “successful” people who make a lot of money or have achieved high corporate positions, who run organizations or have won elective office, who are clueless when it comes to understanding what life is all about. The fact is, that kind of success is only half of the equation. Our drive for titles and money is too often based on a desperate need to prove ourselves to others, rather than the passion to live a life in a way that draws on our true values and talents, enlarges our spirits, and allows us to be who we need to be to live rich, satisfying lives.
For me, jazz is one of the most powerful metaphors I’ve ever found for living an extraordinary life, but that won’t mean much to you unless you understand very clearly how I define the term. Jazz isn’t just the music, it’s the feeling the music gives you. That feeling is the result of an ability to recognize potential in simple things and ordinary situations, and then, through improvisation, conviction and skill, turn that potential into something remarkable. (A gifted jazz musician, for example, can make a complex masterpiece out of a tune as simple as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”) Jazz is a state of mind in which possibilities for innovation and discovery are revealed to you, and you are able to tap into deep reserves of commitment and passion.