Let’s start with a little story time to give you my backstory to this analogy. When I was 14, I started punching a clock. We didn’t have much, and we were well situated in the bottom tier of the lower middle class so if I wanted new or fashionable clothing, I had to work for it. 4 days a week I would ride the bus home from school, change clothes into my work uniform, and then take the DART bus (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to work in Downtown Dallas. Public parking was over a mile away from my place of employment so by the time I walked in the door I about 3 hours to work, and at that time minimum wage was a whopping $3.15 per hour. All that effort for $9.45 per day began to seem counterproductive. After months of this it became too frustrating and time-consuming. Yet, at age 15 I would become eligible for a hardship license which meant I could take my uniform to school, change in the locker room after basketball practice, and head straight to work. If I had a vehicle! Stay with me, I will have a point.

In our backyard sat a 1973 Chevy Nova with a 289, straight 6, that was now inoperable. Buried beneath the waist high weeds there was the old brown beast that I had apparently, according to my mom, tried to set fire to when I was a toddler. Why I had access to matches and a working knowledge of how to set a fire under a fuel tank using leaves from the pecan tree is another story. The engine had a rod thrown but my dad was a solid mechanic. After agreeing to pay $300 for this awesome piece of rust collecting American steel my father agreed to help me rebuild the engine and anything else that needed replacing. On one condition, he would teach me how to do it, but I had to do the work. Which seemed horribly oppressive to my 14-year-old self, but something I am forever grateful for in my later years.

So, we began. Rented a cherry picker and pulled the engine, stripped it down and searched for any irreversible damage that may have been caused by the rod bouncing around in there. Discovered that, yes, it was too damaged, and we needed to find a replacement engine. But I learned! We replaced the engine with a crate motor and moved onto the transmission. Dropped the transmission and replaced the seals and put in a new torque converter and voila, it still would not fire, it puttered around a little and died every time we could get the engine to momentarily turn over. We moved onto the one part of that engine that I wrote all the above to get to, the carburetor. Still with me? I’m actually inching closer to a logical analogy here soon!

We tore the carburetor down and replaced some parts; jet, gaskets, idle screw, you name it, we probably replaced it until we were able to get enough fire and fuel mix to start that bad boy up. During that time, I learned a lot about working on carburetors. If anyone had an issue with their vehicle that had to do with a fuel system, I was quick to offer aid. Like any good boy in the 80s would do, I painted that beast dark primer gray, spent every penny I had on some Cragar Super Sport mag rims, slapped a Kenwood stereo system in, and I was off! But that carburetor! That carburetor never ceased to give me issues. I never stopped working on that integral piece of the vehicle until the day I came home from a camping trip, saw that my dad had painted the car blue with exterior house paint, and decided I no longer wanted to drive that vehicle. Bright blue house paint, but I had acquired years of experience that came out of that time.

Still with me? I am about to get to the point. I promise. I did not set up that backstory as a deceptive way to make you read my autobiography.

As time passed, so did the automobile manufacturing industry. You will not find any carburetors in production these days. Everything is now fuel injected. But, I love classic cars, specifically muscle cars! My list of dream vehicles is produced firmly within a production date range of years before I was even born. In the off chance that I ever get to own one of these drool inducing works of mechanical mastery I will have enough in the knowledge bank to keep it running. But, if my current vehicle, which is fuel injected, ever breaks down, it’s going to the shop. Why? I never learned to work on that style of engine. I never took the time or had to determination to learn how the new computerized systems work, certainly not to the extent that I feel comfortable under the hood. I never adapted, is the best way to put it. And away we go….

Experience is only as impressive as your ability to adapt to your life of choice. Using my example above, let me show what I mean.

Let’s say the mechanic shop down the street has an opening for a fuel system technician. I can state on my resume that I have over 30 years of fuel system experience, right? It’s not a lie. I have at least that much time working on fuel systems. I submit my resume online, drive up to the shop, meet the owner and, I am hired. I start tomorrow, and they are excited to have someone with over 3 decades of fuel system experience on their team. I put on my mechanics gloves, open the bay door and in the rolls the first car. The driver gets out, hands me their keys and tells me that the car is idling too low and dies at red lights. No problem, head on inside and get some coffee and I will take a look. As I pop the hood I am baffled and woefully unqualified. Why? There’s no carburetor. It’s all fuel injected. Did I lie on my resume? No, I did not. I have decades of experience. What I did wrong was I never adapted to the changes in the industry. The industry became wholly fuel injected and I chose to stick with what I knew instead of changing my approach or learning the new techniques. What the hiring manager did wrong is they did not assess my current knowledge and mechanical acumen on the industry changes because I had 30+ years of “experience”. My experience is virtually worthless in any auto shop.

What is your experience? Before you traverse this new plain of your own personal existence, what have you failed to adapt to? We all live in a world that is constantly changing right before our eyes. The new technology that we cannot wait to get our hands on will be rendered obsolete by the time we get it set up in our homes. We invest time and money into products because they are the newest version of something that will never stop evolving. In the meantime, we cling to our preferred version of those material possessions because we fear the change. We fear the newest model because we have already invested so much time learning the quirks of the model that sits in our entertainment center. We refuse to adapt, and thus we refuse to grow or to have any further effect the world at large.

The biological world at large is full of adaptation. We see it in certain species that migrated elsewhere from their place of origin and had to adapt to their new surroundings. These species do this to survive. They do this so that the harsher realities of the new world they have entered will not defeat their attempt at existence and their fight against extinction. Yet, as human beings, we have a different need for adaptation.

We are not here to adapt for the mere purpose of survival, although that is a base necessity. We are here to adapt in an ongoing effort to beautify those in our presence. Not beautify in the sense of the ever shallow, worldly view of beauty. I am specifically talking about the beauty that we feel, less than see. We are called to adapt to a world where beauty is ever decreasing because of the implied definition this world has placed on it. We are fine to destroy this planet and her surroundings, so long as we look aesthetically pleasing during the destruction phase. We are content to accept outward beauty instead of inward joy.

That is the new viewpoint we must keep in mind during our own adaptation. That is the answer you own. What do I have to offer to change the perspective of beauty, is the question you have to ask? You are not so much adapting to this world; you are adapting to change it through your presence. To change the idea of beauty as we have been predisposed to view it, we have to offer a new view of what beauty is. Deep down we all know it. We even say it out loud, but we do not believe it. We know true beauty is inward, but we are so conscious of the world’s definition that we cannot even hear our own voices over the screams of the thousands. To be more specific, you are adapting your delivery method. You are causing an adaptation of this world to see beauty for what it was intended to be.

Scream louder! Your beauty is not found in mass acceptance. Your beauty and your influence may only be felt by a few in this lifetime, but it will create a ripple effect that may carry on for generations. Adapt your delivery methods, but never adapt to the norm. Never allow the world at large to define your particular form of beauty. Someone is praying for you to step up and show the masses what beauty was always meant to be, to define it, once and for all. Imagine how your life would be right now had someone in an earlier generation forced this world to adapt to their beauty, as opposed to the other way around. Imagine never having to alter your beauty to fit the current narrative. You have the opportunity to change the way this world sees beauty in the coming generations. Adapt your delivery method and start pouring it out.

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Jeremy Thornton

As a Professional Musician and Leadership Trainer I have had the pleasure of spending time learning from some of the greatest talent in both fields.