Steven Banks

Saxophonist. Educator. Inclusion Advocate.

"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable"

- Ludwig van Beethoven

Parts of a Beautiful Tapestry

Knowing your own value and strength is no easy task. In this time in which impression is often prioritized over character, it is easy to constantly compare yourself to what seems "normal" for other people. With social media profiles at the forefront of lots of communication efforts, it is easy to see WHAT others are doing, but not HOW they are really doing. It's easy to take in information and jump to conclusions based on what someone chooses to share with you. However, this is not a luxury that we have with ourselves.

We see every flaw, remember ever failed attempt, and often focus on our bad experiences that others may never even know about. Being in your own skin can often give you tunnel-vision to the negative instead of staying forward-thinking and goal-oriented. 

The good news is that we do indeed have a choice in what we focus our energy and brain power on. While we all of have areas to improve, we also all have a wealth of talent and perspective to contribute to the world. Instead of being held back by our shortcomings, we can choose to allow them to create opportunities to connect with others that may have strengths where we are weak. We can choose to be happy yet humble and create a community of friends and colleagues that will elevate everyone involved. 

This is one of the greatest things that I have learned this year and in my life so far. No awards, achievements, or accolades can bring us closer to happiness and contentment. For me, close relationships that challenge me to improve, working towards goals that I believe in, and allowing myself to be human are the things that have helped keep me sane. 

I have the fortune of knowing so many amazing people with a wide range of knowledge and expertise. I want to thank all of you for being awesome and cheer you on as you continue to push towards what is exciting and important to you.

Even the people that seem the most "successful" have scars from painful times in their lives. Instead of focusing on our own painful experiences, we can realize this common ground and use it as a way to empathize with others and be an encouraging light on them. Don't we all need that kind of person in our own lives? I hope to share this spirit of growth and collaboration with as many people as I can so that it stays alive within me! 

These ideas were floating around in my mind this evening, and I hope that reading this post will be encouraging to someone out there!