Too many of you seem to naively rely on your musical gift as if that is the end-all-be-all to success.
In fact, many of you seem to be utterly dumbfounded at that lack of attention you receive from the industry solely because of your musical gift (even if you’re delusional about that gift but I digress). You have a nasty habit and it has to go.
Your brilliant talent is worthless unless you understand how to stand out from the crowd in the marketplace, amongst industry professionals, and amongst your peers.
Follow me on this, as always, I have a point.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts called The Business of Story with host Park Howell. In this episode he interviewed 9-time New York Times Bestselling author and former Associate Editor of Sports Illustrated Magazine, Don Yaeger. Wow!
Don has written over 25 books and interviewed over 2,500 major sports stars in his career.
There was one question he asked during every interview he ever conducted and Don kept a record of each answer given over that lifetime of interviews.
“If you could name for me a habit or characteristic that you believe separated you from everyone else that you competed against, what would that habit or characteristic be?”
Most artists would answer this question by describing their most compelling gifts or talents. “My voice, my songwriting, my performances, my guitar playing, blah, blah, blah.”
What’s interesting is the most common answer that was given by each of these superstar winners.
Most of these sports heroes DIDN’T talk of their physical gifts at all. Instead, they articulated that they all had a fear of losing that surpassed their joy of winning.
They all at some point in their lives, learned to HATE losing far more than they loved winning.
They expect to win because winning is a direct result of the hard work they consistently put in every day.
Winning is a byproduct of showing up.
They hate losing.
They hate losing because it’s super painful
It’s this painful to them because it’s personal.
It’s personal because they accept 100% of the blame.
They feel responsible for 100% of the outcome of any given situation.
Here’s the nasty habit I mentioned earlier.
If you make excuses, it’s not 100% your fault, is it?
Some of you, and you know who you are, have a nasty habit of constantly shifting the blame away from yourself to ease the pain of losing.
It’s sucks to lose, but if it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault so better luck next time, right?
Maybe the Gods will make it different for me tomorrow.
Your habit is to believe that your life is a consequence of your surroundings rather than a result of the sum of your decisions.
This fact was not surprising to me at all but still SUPER INTERESTING.
You have to stop making excuses when you fail. Period
As long as you make excuses you’ll NEVER own it and failure only hurts when you have no one else to blame.
You’re supposed to be an ARTIST for God’s sake, FEEL THE PAIN!!
It’s good for you.
Don had the opportunity to attend an “old man’s sports camp” with Michael Jordan as one of the mentors.
There was a situation where he was one of a few guys chosen to play one-on-one against Jordan.
Don is quite prideful of the fact that he actually SCORED on Michael Jordan! (who wouldn’t be?)
Michael was pissed.
He hates losing.
This is a mindset people.
Again, I am not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I received so many comments from a previous article where I revealed the secret to getting PAID was your mental mindset.
Many of you dismissed this as mumbo jumbo, probably because you hear it so much it’s almost like words come across sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,”
Michael Jordan was one of the superstars Don interviewed.
Michael never spoke of his 42” vertical leap; which is astounding.
In fact, a 42” vertical leap is a God-given talent.
You can’t learn to jump 42 inches. You have it or you don’t.
Why wouldn’t the great Michael Jordan who was 6’6” talk about this amazing gift as the reason he was able to not only succeed, but DOMINATE an entire league of seemingly God-like 6’9” tall ability?
Answer: IT WASN’T THE TALENT
It was the fact that he learned to hate losing so much.
Some people are born with this type of drive.
Some learn it because they grew up dirt poor and never want to return to that state of living again.
Some learn it other ways.
Don’t you find it compelling that out of over 2,500 athletic superstars interviewed, the vast MAJORITY of them described this attribute as the highest contributing factor to their success over their obvious talent?
Doesn’t that ring a bell somewhere in your being?
I see it every single day in our music business.
The big winners have a very wide range of musical ability. Some are very talented, some are not.
ALL the winners hate to lose.
This is a mindset.
This can be learned.
The habit can be dropped like a 3-foot putt.
Your success isn’t dependent on whether you have enough talent to win American Idol or The Voice.
And as you can plainly see, it doesn’t matter if you win American Idol or The Voice with your talent, your career success will be determined by what happens after that.
Lose the habit, gain success. Period
Surround yourself with the right people: this includes your significant other.
If he or she is not adding to your success they’re detracting from it and you’re wasting time.
This means your band. If everyone isn’t on board get rid of them.
This is “show-BUSINESS”, not “show-friends”.
This may sound harsh to you because y’all are friends but here is a little reality check. Imagine bringing your friend into your day job. You vouch for this friend to your boss, the boss agrees, and your friend comes in and doesn’t hold up his or her end of the deal.
How would you feel?
Would you be surprised if your friend got fired?
Would you be the one to fire that friend?
I remember an early gig my band played when we were in high school. We had about 5 minutes before the show was supposed to start and nobody could locate the new drummer.
We all went out into the parking lot and found him.
In his crappy-ass, rusted out, shit-box of a pickup truck.
He was surrounded by a literal SEA of empty beer cans.
I wanted to kill him right then and there!
If I had a lobster fork, I’d a stabbed him in the eye with it.
We did the show, he sucked, and then he was gone. No questions asked. (Who can’t handle the pressure of high school show for crying out loud?) sheesh.
The great UCLA coach John Wooden was quoted as saying, “You’ll NEVER outperform your inner circle.”
Think about that.
Then REALLY think about that while you assess your inner circle.
I came from a small town. There are plenty of friends who are still in that small town sitting on the same barstool making the same excuses as to why they can’t succeed.
Many of them are unhappy and it’s not their fault.
Just ask them, they’ll tell you.
There is a diagnosable mental dynamic that happens when your homies bring you down.
I saw a video with Snoop Dogg the other day articulately describing what he called “the gap”.
He held one hand up in a flat horizontal fashion about 2 inches above the other one. Snoop said that in order to be friends and hang the gap has to be small like the 2 inches he was showing. Trouble is when someone starts to rise up, the gap begins to widen. Then there is only one way for the relationship to continue as it has been.
Somehow the gap has to close.
There are only 2 ways for the gap to close. Either the bottom hand has to step up or the top hand has to come down.
Are you in the habit of coming down to make your friends more comfortable around you?
Don’t be ashamed of your gifts and certainly don’t you dare believe that your gifts alone are all you need to break out and be successful.
That’s a naïve story most artists love to tell themselves.
You have to be a student of the game.
You have to hate losing.
You have to be mindful of your inner circle.
You have to hate losing so much that you learn everything else like the business, marketing, performance, writing, recording, etc. to stack the deck as much as you can in your favor to give you the best chance of NOT LOSING.
Do that, and you’ll wake up one day making a living doing what you were born to do surrounded by an amazing inner circle.
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