November 15, 2020

CJ Masciantonio

Mind of Mash: Unlike COVID-19, This Is Something Worth Catching

The following post is a contribution from CJ Masciantonio, a #Strella team member. CJ is a part of both the creative and community management teams. He’s also the guitarist of the band, Galactic Empire.

As a touring musician, I have traveled around the world and have met many people. Each place was unique and inspiring, as was every person. I’m grateful to have made it to this point in my career, but there were also times where I felt like I had no control over what was to come next. Now and then, things were certainly bleak. I remember one instance where my band was playing a festival in San Francisco. When our flight landed, we realized that all of our gear was improperly checked and flown to Florida. Panic and anger ensued, but never once did I compromise and let my negativity spread to others.

There was, however, one thing that I had complete control over - and that was my attitude. I smile through the hard times and move forward. Because after all, that’s all one can really do in these situations. This mindset is powerful – and infectious. You’re much easier to be around. It gives others a sense of trust in you.

It does not matter if you are the best of the best in your craft… A bad attitude will keep you away from opportunities and hinder your chances of personal and professional growth. This happens a lot in my line of work. Someone may be an incredible musician or have a set of skills that makes them stand out. But if they are pessimistic, egotistical, or negative, then it is hard to work with them in any sort of constructive way. In my experience, I would rather associate myself with a kind, eager up-and-comer than an arrogant narcissist that feeds on negativity. I have seen many musicians come and go for reasons pertaining exactly to this, and it is disappointing to know that a simple change in attitude could have saved their careers.

It is also important to remember that being kind is not complicated. While there are many forms of it, the concept of kindness does not change. A simple smile, gesture, or compliment can go a long way. And the best part is, everyone is capable of it.

People remember the little things and they certainly add up. And as it turns out, life can be a bit easier when people are happy and comfortable to be around you. There were many times in my career where I was the foreigner in other countries and it was certainly intimidating. Thoughts rushed through my brain of what people might be thinking of me and if they would be accepting of my presence. With this context in mind, I did the only thing I could do, and that was to be kind. And what do you know? It panned out exactly as I had hoped. Respect is a two-way street, and kindness is in perfect correlation with this.

There may be times when kindness is ignored and still met with hostile words or actions. In these moments, walking away and being the bigger person is the best way to protect your integrity and well-being. Holding your tongue may be hard, but saying nothing is sometimes better than saying something you will regret. It takes confidence to step back from a negative situation, without saying a word in rebuttal, but one worth mastering to avoid unnecessary conflict and attract happiness.

During these stressful times of change and uncertainty, one thing that we can do is be kind. Positivity is contagious, and unlike Covid-19, it is something that everyone should be catching. Take some time during your day to think about what you can do to be kind. Perhaps it is letting your friends and loved ones know that you care. It may be as simple as holding the door open for a stranger. The benefits of kindness will keep us all to moving forward in a healthy way.

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