I remember seeing a movie called What The Bleep Do We Know? in high school that addressed quantum physics in a way that the average person could understand. I was blown away at the mention of Dr. Masaru Emoto’s “water experiment,” which essentially claimed that human intent could actually change the molecular structure of water.
While I’m not a smart or dedicated enough man to attempt to confirm the scientific veracity of his experiment, the idea that our thoughts can literally shape our physical surroundings has always intrigued me.
It’s indisputable that thoughts affect reality—all human innovations were once just ideas in the heads of their creators—but the idea of focused intent leading to direct physical manifestations is a power we too often take for granted as New Age pseudoscience, even in the face of its existence.
One of the most captivating aspects of art is how it's able to condense that process from thought to tangible material. Paintings and songs don’t exist other than in the thoughts of artists until physical action makes them real. Because of that intimacy between thought and action, artists tend to have their fingers on the pulse of its elusive nature and are often able to conjure their own destiny through a blind faith in themselves and their abilities.
We recently revisited a seven-year-old tweet sent to 9th Wonder by current hip-hop king Kendrick Lamar, who begged the veteran producer for a beat to act as a proving grounds for a then-unknown K.Dot. Fast forward to present day, Kendrick has not only worked with 9th but is currently dominating the genre with his latest album, which features production from—you guessed it—9th Wonder.
Similarly, DJBooth editor-in-chief Z recently stumbled upon some old tweets from several of Lamar’s current collaborators that speak volumes to the power of well-executed intent.
Terrace Martin, Steve Lacy and Teddy Walton are present on Kendrick’s latest album DAMN., and all three put the above thoughts out into the universe years before their respective moments arrived.
Of course, Kendrick and every other top-tier rapper’s timeline is filled with droves of aspiring artists and producers making similar claims. It’s easy to say you’re going to do something, but the term “actions speak louder than words” is a cliché for a reason.
Fostering that relationship between intent and manifestation isn’t a hard science, but it’s not just a grab-bag either. The most successful people in any field create an environment for their thoughts to thrive, and while it works differently for everyone, plain and simple execution is the baseline universal truth in every story.
Sharing your thoughts with the universe is equal parts motivation to yourself and exclamation of your ambitions. Saying you’re going to do something in your head is one thing, but to put that intent out into the world for others to see is a wager on your reputation.
These three producers saw an artist that they considered great and put their intention to work with him into the universe, but that’s the easy part. It was the countless hours of work and seized opportunities that eventually led to those thoughts being realized. You can’t think a painting onto a canvas, and at the same time, it’s not a painting without intent.
Greatness is a fickle combination of ambition and execution; of knowing what you’re meant to do, but understanding the work it takes to get there and actually doing it. This is something Kendrick, Terrace, Steve and Teddy all understand, and anyone that hopes to achieve greatness in their field had better learn it.