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Art is a Process, Not a Product: Nina Simone

Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Photo from Netflix.

Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Photo from Netflix.

When you set out to achieve a specific goal, whether it's to pursue an artistic vision or a new business venture, you must accept a degree of isolation. You might feel misunderstood, or your friends & family might say you're crazy; but you can't succumb to feelings of doubt. The grander your dream is, the more endurance and determination you'll probably need to achieve it. You can't be afraid to follow your gut, stand your ground, and accept the possibility that you may very well fail - many, many times.

But the best any of us can do is to embrace isolation as part of the process, and do our best to use it to our advantage. Use it as a time to learn, study, and perfect your craft. Or to recover from workaholic tendencies, letting you rejuvenate and become inspired again. It can be simple, quiet, and calm; or aggressive, chaotic, and forceful. Everyone is challenged to grow in different ways throughout their lives. A period of isolation might prepare you for when opportunity knocks, or ignite a major transition towards another calling. Sometimes, it can be painful and unexpected - dropped in our laps; other times, it can be joyful and pursued with vigor. But each makes you stronger, better, and closer to knowing yourself.

To better explore this topic, we recommend watching "What Happened, Miss Simone," a documentary about the life and struggles of musician and activist Nina Simone. Through this riveting film, you'll be able to explore her many phases of isolation: as a child prodigy, a black woman playing classical piano, a jazz sensation, a victim of an abusive marriage, an activist, and as an artist who was ahead of her time. It's messy, beautiful, angry, and elevated by a soundtrack that will leave you with goosebumps. Watch it now on Netflix.