Art of the Song

Expression and Introspection

Having a Binocular Vision

By Don Richmond | Posted 5/15/07 | Updated 5/8/23

One way of looking at taking creative action in the world that I find helpful is what I call having a binocular vision.

What I mean by that is, sort of two way street, one side is focused on our expression, sort of focused inwardly, looking to see, am I saying what it is that I have to say — am I putting it out cleanly and clearly? Is it true to myself, true to my heart, true to what I want to accomplish, whether it's writing a song or starting a business — whatever it is that you're doing.

The other side of the equation or the other side of the binocular is more outward looking. It is noticing what effects our creative expression has. And then from that, seeing what we can learn from it. It you're a song writer, you sing your song and you notice: are people moved, do people like it, are people clapping?

You notice that, and maybe you notice that it works for some people and it doesn't work for others, and you notice that it works for some situations and it doesn't work in others. Or maybe you feel like "Well I need to work on that one a little bit more."

You take in feedback from the world. You can take it in; you can sift through it and learn from it. Hold up the feedback and set it beside the intention of your original expression. Did it do what I wanted to do, and if not, why not? And then you make whatever judgments you need to make. Both sides need to be solidly in place. You don't just trash your song, just because some jerk didn't get it. It might not work for him but it might work for somebody else.

It's very helpful to be able to fearlessly take in the feedback and see what it has to offer you. That doesn't mean that you choke off the avenue of expression. That side needs to remain intact, but it can inform that side. You can get better. You can use the feedback of the world to refine your skills at whatever it is you're doing.

You need to have solid sense of worth in place without fear. The more of a sense of worth you have in place, the more feedback you can look at and the more fearlessly you can look at it.

And the more fearlessly you can express what you had to express to begin with — but when both sides of this are functioning I think that it allows us to express fully and it allows us to move quickly in our growth as creative human beings.

©2007 Don Richmond. All rights reserved.

Don RichmondDon Richmond is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumental performer, having played professionally for over thirty years. More