What’s Swimming in Your Aquarium?

16 02 2009

This dude has one awesome “real” aquarium >>

The Aquarium Concept.

Pretty sight, isn’t it? It’s not mine, in fact, I have never had success taking care of tropical fish. It’s just not my “thing”, even though I enjoy scenes like this. I do have an “aquarium” of sorts, but it has no glass, rock or water, only thoughts and dreams. My aquarium was a total mess for a long time, until I came to terms with this:

In order for things to flourish, they must have a good environment. This goes for people and fish and ideas too. You can have an aquarium, with some beautiful young fish but if you don’t take care of them (as I found out at age 10) soon algae grows in the tank, the fish start looking sickly, and then die off. Sounds simple, and it is, but looking at your life and your goals this way takes a little practice. It’s the same with ideas, projects, art, poetry, music, film, video, job search, family relations; whatever the passion, the aquarium concept holds true.

Once you have begun a project, if you don’t take steps to complete it, eventually it gets forgotten, goes away, and becomes something you just thought about a long time ago. Anyone who raises beautiful aquatic life successfully will tell you to start small, take care of a few guppies, then add more life, which requires more attentive care. Over time you can build something of true beauty share with others, like in the video posted here. The more you think about the fish you could have, and visualize their beauty, the more you “see” them in your mind, the more effort you will put into making that vision happen. It’s the same in life; I proposed to my wife because I could visualize the wonderful life I now have with her. But you have to feed the fish! If I spent every night out at the bar and ignored my family, the marriage would falter, eventually.

Also in business; I can talk about an intriguing or technically proficient video with a client, where we can both visualize it, but unless there is a budget, and then we step through the production process and edit and produce a final product, it doesn’t mean a thing to anyone. It would be akin to having a buddy who always talks about the amazing aquarium he will someday have, but never does anything to make it happen; years go by and you get sick of him talking about it. He has an aquarium but forgot to feed the fish.

It’s only real to you until it’s “real” in the world.

One of the most difficult things for me to absorb, ego-wise, is that an idea, however great my visualization of it is, means little to anyone else, and never will, until I do something about it. Ideas are common, the execution of ideas is a rare commodity. Personally I have identified several projects, including three documentary films and a music release for my band, and I can see them clearly, because I have identified them as projects I am committed to complete, and am taking steps to make them “real” in the world. But for years I went through life bewildered when friends didn’t react much when I spoke of my ideas, my dreams. Sure they were polite, but generally just gave me lip service on the subjects. Now I realize that I am the same way about a lot of what others talk about, because really that’s all it is – talk. There is no way anyone else will be able to visualize my ideas like I can, because they are mine, not theirs. It’s natural. Only when I complete steps to produce evidence of my work (trailers to the films, demos from the recording sessions) can those things start to become “real” to others. So I stopped expecting others to “get it” about what I do, until I have something to show. Even then, I expect it to take time, and that I will learn and adapt based on other people’s reactions along the way.

Again with the aquarium analogy:

Just because you have a clean tank, doesn’t mean it’s good for all fish. A freshwater fish won’t last long in saltwater, and some fish are predators, gobbling up weaker ones. Likewise, not every idea you have is suited for the business you are in and therefor should just remain an idea. Sometimes you get started on a project or quest for information, and discover you don’t really want to pursue it anymore, and that’s OK, just clean out the tank. Identify projects that you are truly passionate about, and focus on those. If you really want a tank with a beautiful coral reef, and pretty little clown fish darting about, then create the environment for it. Yours will be a very different tank than one created by someone who wants to raise aggressive creatures to watch them eat goldfish. Same in life, if you desire to be a nature photographer, but live in the city with no means to be in the wilderness, you could study and learn the craft, then take steps to move into an area more suitable to your dream. If you want it bad enough, you will work for years to achieve that goal. If, after taking some steps and researching the subject, you decide that the life of a nature photographer is not for you, then no problem, just flush that fish, and find one that will thrive where you are. So many people think they can’t achieve something, only because they only want to think about the end goal, but never really visualize it, and never identify steps to make it happen. Once again, they forgot to feed the fish.

Check out my tank.

Over the coming months, I will be posting to this blog about these individual projects, my efforts to make them “real” in the world. For now here’s an overview of our projects and an idea of what kind of fish they would be. It’s been fun to think of these things in this way, and I think fun is what Internet marketing and social networking should be all about.
A trio of Lion Fish:
Three documentary films in various stages of production with support of The Still Kickin’ Foundation, a 501C-3 non-profit organization. See Trace Documentaries Page
A hermit crab, getting bigger and more bold to venture out, day by day:
Trace Elements – Studio CD – see Trace Elements on MySpace – check out a few advance mixes from the CD
The Grouper:
Trace Productions – online since 1998, my core business site – see TraceProductions.com
Two Electric Eels:
CityB-roll and TexasB-roll – HD stock footage business – got the first eel in 2002, added second in 2008, they are also getting bigger, bolder day by day.. soon to make a big showing out of the rocks. See CityB-roll.com

I try to feed the fish everyday, whether that is adding more connections in Linkedin, FaceBook and MySpace, publishing posts to this blog, working on documentary treatments, whatever, I just keep feeding the fish. I am confident that if I keep it up, chances of them all dying off and going away are negligible. One of them might get sick sometime and die off, or one might gobble up another… But I will replace them, and learn from my mistakes. My desire is to have them all thrive, and to be in need a bigger tank.

What’s in yours?

Subscribe to this blog, we appreciate your interest in our aquarium! Also, if you want to show me your tank, sign up to Facebook and request me as a friend. Mention that you read this blog and I will be sure to add you. Then you can post articles, pictures, videos, related to your projects, your passions, your fish tank, and I will be sure to check them out. My email address is tracy@traceproductions.com. Thanks.

Wordle: The Aquarium Concept

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4 responses

20 02 2009
Linda C

Well, Big Fish, I can testify to the time when the Guppy jumped off the Reef to swim in clearer waters – and look at you now! What a delightful writing, Trace. Awesome imagery, and I KNOW there is no stopping you. You are not bound by an aquarium tank – the whole reef is yours! More blessings, Linda

20 02 2009
Pete

Solid concept. Nicely done, Tracy

6 03 2009
Manuel Marino

Tracy, your post is really interesting.

Made me think about inspiration in music: ideas to be developed and produced to become real.

I think that creation is in every job, so probably there’s a little artist in everyone, also in the most unimaginative businessman.

Creative thinking is part of being alive.

24 08 2009
Gary Simpson

Nice analogy Tracy.

I followed your link from Twitter (the lion fish question).

I have had aquariums in the past. I got sick of predators eating and attacking the other fish. I also had an eel that I called … Eelvis. But he died coz he slithered out onto the floor overnight and in the morning he looked like a dried pretzel. I was pretty sad about that. Still am a bit.

Thanks for interacting on the big T.

Gary Simpson
http://www.Twitter.com/TheGazzMan

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