Lessons Learned from Pharrell Williams

Bitter SweetI read an article the other day about Pharrell Williams. A man who views the world differently, views things as possible and believes that collaboration makes the impossible possible.

Wants and Dones

Pharrell Williams said that when he hires someone to work with him, he asks two questions: “What do you want?” and “What haven’t you done?

I want love, life and influence. I want to create great music and live a life that is purpose-filled.

I’ve never said “I love you” to a boy. I’ve never played at the 9:30 Club. I’ve never seen a miraculous healing. I’ve never traveled to Australia. I’ve never gone skydiving. I’ve never met Bono.

Lessons, Not Failures

Pharrell Williams also said, “There is no failure, only lessons.” So what have I been “learning”?

  • I’ve learned that it’s very easy to feel alone in the world, even if you are not.
  • I’ve learned that I liked my former full-time job and it’s stability more than I ever knew.
  • I’ve learned that it’s easy for two great people to be bad communicators.
  • I’ve learned that I often fear the unknown and want to know it.
  • I’ve learned that I want to be in love and to be married.
  • I’ve learned I want influence, not money.
  • I’ve learned I doubt.
  • I’ve learned that you just can’t figure things out sometimes. So you just have to say live it and move forward in faith.
  • I’ve learned you are normally not content unless you choose to be.
  • I’ve learned no one will even love me the way I need to be loved except for the God who made me.

Tap In

So now that I’ve “learned” so much, what now? Pharrell Williams encourages me to tap in. Be open to the kinds of peripheral ideas that lead to innovation. It requires an environment that permits fixation–the antithesis of multitasking–so that you have the ability to, as he puts it, “be quiet and absorb.”

So if you find me daydreaming or zoning out.

Please don’t bother me.

I’m breaking down the impossibilities.