If you want to play the game you need to be in the game. To get in the game requires proximity.
But proximity to what, exactly?
Proximity to the knowledge, outlook, perspective, talent, and energy you need to achieve your definition of success.
Proximity is absolutely everything, and those that truly want in, will find and/or create the doors that connect them with the other side.
Success making their art.
Sounds absolutely blissful doesn’t it?
Proximity will force you to raise your game.
I thought I knew exactly what I was doing as an artist and a guitar player until I got proximity to The Allman Brothers. Once I repeatedly saw them, I knew I had a LOT to learn.
Sometimes proximity can be lucky, but often it is manifested by the seekers out of sheer will.
Let’s look at some examples of each.
Bill Gates being the richest man in the world is largely due to luck as Malcolm Gladwell sees it. He was quite literally the right person, in the right, place at the right time. Bill’s mother worked for the University of Washington, which in the 1960’s, was one of only 2 institutions in the United States that housed a supercomputer. Bill being a person fascinated with computing and code writing had access to this amazing machine as early as the 8th grade.
This was a story of someone who wanted to and needed to do the work and couldn’t do it without proximity.
SIDENOTE: Not surprisingly, the other supercomputer was located at the University of Michigan where Bill Joy went to school and invented the internet.
These two extremely iconic individuals could have had vastly different lives without the luck of proximity to what was then extremely elusive and rare cutting edge technology.
Let’s look at some examples of created proximity.
A good friend of mine and hit songwriter, Matt Warren (he co-wrote the #1 “Every Storm Runs Out of Rain” for Gary Allan) got proximity by selling T-shirts on tour for a merch company called Richards & Southern. He wanted in to the music business and didn’t really care how it happened or what it looked like.
He got the opportunity to tour as a merch person with Gary Allan where he created a relationship with the artist. The story goes that he totally sucked at selling shirts but he could write, the rest is history.
I have another good friend named Brian Foraker. Google him.
Brian mixed the hugely famous Whitesnake album (the big one with “Here I Go Again”) which will make him cool in my book forever. Brian ended up being the main engineer for mega producer Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac, Whitesnake, Foreigner, Heart, Rick Springfield, Top Gun Soundtrack, Footloose Soundtrack). Brian will tell you he got his start by becoming a roadie for Heart.
He wanted in.
He got in.
He worked his way up to where he was allowed to hang in the studio when they were recording.
He’ll tell you he shut up and paid serious attention because the studio fascinated him and he wanted in.
“Hey Brian, move that mic on the snare drum for me, please”, turned into him engineering which landed him the gig with Keith.
Mega record mogul, David Geffen started out very poor working in the mail room at William Morris Agency. Geffen sold his label to MCA in 1990 for $550 Million making him one of the richest people in the country at the time.
I know it’s not about the money, man.
But you have to start somewhere.
How can you get the proximity you need?
Well the internet certainly makes that a lot easier than any of the previously mentioned individuals. Hat tip to Bill Joy.
Books are another way to see behind the scenes of greatness. They’re a great deal too. Autobiographies, how to books, marketing books, etc., all provide knowledge that you can apply to your own situation.
Marketing is connecting with people by applying knowledge of human psychology and using it to your advantage.
Yes, some use this knowledge for evil. Like politicians, ALL news outlets, governments, etc.
Some use it for good.
Connecting with people via marketing prowess can feel strangely similar to connecting with people via songwriting.
A transcendence of sorts.
You struggle with the mysteries of marketing. All the answers are out there dressed up in easily available knowledge and its consequent application.
This application of marketing knowledge requires the same effort and tenacity as your art.
Proximity can be more easily achieved with social media and the internet than it used to be. Bottom line, if you want in the game you will find a way to get in. Those that offer up excuses as to why they can’t get proximity simply don’t really want it that bad.
Mentors can be found.
Mentors won’t find you.
Everybody needs mentorship. Most incredibly high paid corporate CEO’s have mentors to guide their ascension in the ranks and manage a proper perspective once they get there. It’s lonely at the top, and these CEO’s want to excel at managing a great company environment.
Too many of you either feel you don’t need mentors or don’t have them because they aren’t coming to you. Many of you feel it’s hard to find an appropriate mentor mostly because they aren’t knocking on your door looking to mentor you.
In either one of these scenarios, the damage to you is the same. You have no mentor.
So you have no new perspectives.
You have no insight.
You have no guidance for new situations, just your old behavior which seems to result in the same outcomes.
New outcomes require new behaviors. New behaviors comes from learning, education, advice, someone else’s 20/20 hindsight (which is referred experience isn’t it?), etc. All these things can be found in mentors.
Here’s the thing, you need proximity to mentors.
Confucius say, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
You have to go to them. Tai Lopez sought out many mentors and worked for them; often for free, if not for free, for peanuts. He wasn’t interested in an immediate payoff for his time, rather he was interested in LEARNING how to be better. The big payoff comes with the knowledge as it WILL monetize later down the road.
Many of you eagerly seek out mentors for vocal lessons, instrumental lessons, music classes, mental and relationship advancements via therapy, etc.
You go to these people or pay them to come to you. That’s creating proximity.
Why not get proximity to the people can help you do what you want to do in the music industry?
Believe me it takes image, art, talent, strategy, paperwork, good business, and logistics to rise above the fray and be heard.
Nobody is born a master of all these talents.
They have to be learned by the seekers who won’t take “NO” for an answer.
In my case, I have had mentorships come into my life by working with or for other companies, I have sought out and paid for new knowledge as often as I can.
What’s more valuable than furthering your education?
Tai Lopez calls this “doubling down” on yourself.
People love to share their knowledge with people they care about. Just like you they think people they don’t know who are asking tons of deep questions (so therefore don’t care about) are creepy.
Proximity solves all this.
Now you just have to solve for proximity.