A person who wants to lead an orchestra must turn their back on the crowd.
If you are continually focusing on what everyone else is doing, there is no room for you to pursue that which you have set out to do.
Life is a massive suite of distraction. Some amazing, some terrifying. The prospect of trying to maintain a narrow focus and pursue that which you have set out to do, requires a unique personal discipline that facilitates your ability to stay myopic, and zero in on the exact target you are aiming for.
As an entrepreneur, you are continually questioning what everyone else is working on, how close it comes to your ideas and whether or not you will prevail at the end. When you combine the societal pressures, financial pressures and peer pressures that come to bear upon your dream, the potential for distraction and diversion is immense and the prospect of complete failure grows exponentially…looming in the shadows like the most evil of monsters waiting to devour you.
If you have not seen the film, The Current Wars, you might opt to. In this film, the struggle to dominate the new world of electricity is exquisitely and agonizingly told, as we watch Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla fight for their control and domination of the space that would forever change life for humanity.
At a certain point, it is necessary to understand the competition, but in many cases, it is far wiser to tune them out and pursue your vision with every ounce of courage, determination and fortitude that you can muster. At that stage, you must turn your back on the audience and conduct with every ounce of passion that you can summon.
I have never changed an aphorism that is attributed to another person. It is, after all, their quote. That said, this quote was male centric, and staying true to that option, would be an unfair slight to my friend, Olivia, who is one of the most talented conductors in the world.