So, I decided to write an article that will hopefully encourage you to really get what you want out of life, creatively. Whether you want the fame of a thousand Nine Inch Nails or the stunning and prolific output of a thousand Venetian Snares’, you can achieve it if you put your mind to it and get organized.
Below are four steps you can take to getting yourself on a path to success in the world of music. This article outlines the steps it takes to creating the motivation and structure in your life that will propel you to where you want to go. The topics involved are as follows…
4.) Ignoring doubt
So, if you’re lacking motivation and don’t know where to begin – or if you just want some good pointers, read on, and maybe you’ll get some ideas about how to change your life for the better!
(Develop Psychic Powers / See the Future)
You need to think big, and that means developing a vision for what you want – and don’t want – in life. If you can do this, and if you can imagine what your life might look like in a year from now, or in five years from now, you’re looking into the future! Congratulations, you’ve developed psychic powers! Well, sort of…
The point is, you really do have to think big. What is it that you want out of this life? Chances are, one thing you might want (considering you’re on Bassadelic.com) is music success. But focus even more and ask yourself, “What is it, specifically, that I want out of music?” Is it fame? Fortune? Do you want to be the top remixer in the country, or the world? Do you want to have you music played on commercials? Do you want to change or influence music in the genre of your choice? Do you want to achieve whatever your notion of musical integrity might be, as well as have tons of followers? What does music success look like for you? Picture it, and write it down.
Next, consider the opposite! Think about what it will look like if you do not try to achieve your goals. What would that look like? In ten years, if you never tried to get to your ideal place in life, will you look back on the last decade and think, “Huh, I never really tried that hard to get where I know I wanted to go… someone else did, and look at where THEY are right now!” Don’t let it be someone else who gets ahead because they had more motivation than you. Fuck that. Be the most motivated person you know. So, think of what absolute failure would look like, and write that down, too.
(Doing Your Homework ASAP)
You have to be absolutely committed to your goals, and have a willingness to achieve them, and that also means doing your homework… As far as music goes, who is your hero? What is it that he or she has accomplished creatively in their time here on Earth? Do your homework and figure out what they’re doing that you’re not. I know that’s easier said than done, but consider it one more step on your path to getting where you need to go in your career. It’s research, and if you don’t figure it out, someone else will.
In addition to people who have achieved a lot in your specific desired area of focus, do your homework and find other great thinkers and doers of history, and figure out what their lifestyles and habits were. Try to emulate their positive traits in your own course.
Consider diversity of music. You might get writer’s block one day, and you want to be prepared for it. I remember talking to a friend of mine, several years ago. Well, he was more like a friend of a friend… but the point is, we both made music (I made electronic music, he was in a metal band) and he asked me, “Do you ever feel like it’s hard to make music because it feels like all the good ideas have been done already? Like, all the great melodies have already been written?” I said, “No, I don’t think so… If you’re in a rut, musically, you should listen to other genres. Listen to jazz for an hour and think about what they’re doing in some of those tracks, etc… You don’t have to make jazz music, but in can help to get some perspective…” Well, I doubt he took my advice. Listening to something besides metal? Blaphemy! And where is he, a few years later? Nowhere special – and no, not JUST because he didn’t take my advice, but because he was the type of person who wouldn’t be open to advice like mine – unless my advice involved giving him metal ideas for his new metal album, or something like that, he would’ve likely ignored anything I or anyone else might have to say . He was limiting himself, creatively, and his music undoubtedly suffered for it. Yes, perhaps I’m embellishing a bit, because it’s not like he was a jerk, but he was definitely doomed to stay in his little metal rut for a long time, probably until he got bored and stopped making music.
Listen to as much music as you can, in a variety of genres and styles. Be creative as fuck! And also, remember: it can be hard to learn the basics and technical aspects of music if you only have creative ideas – but teaching somebody who is technical and knows their gear backwards and forwards how to be creative? That’s WAY more difficult! It’s not impossible, and if this applies to you, don’t fret, just do what you have to do to grow the creative part of your brain NOW. Your brain is a muscle, so lift some mental weights and build yourself a creative side AS SOON AS FUCKING POSSIBLE. If you need help, consult my article on creativity. Strive to be creative and also savvy with the left-brained aspects of your music projects.
Learn everything you can about the genre that you’re interested in working in. Do as much research as fucking possible. Learn everything on this site, and go to every other site you can, too. When listening to a new song you like, attempt to learn EVERYTHING about that song, from what the structure of rhythm is, what kind of melodic scale they’re likely using, what techniques they’re using, as well, write down all the things about the song you do NOT understand, and then go out and figure all of them out. Become an expert on that song. Listen to it fifty times. Ingrain it into your mind. Become a master of absolutely thorough musical analysis.
(Developing a Routine of Emulation, Motivation, Exercise, and Goal-Setting)
You might be saying, “Discipline? Homework? StrangeFlow, you’re killing me! This is like school! I just want to get high and jam out and somehow make millions of dollars!” You’re probably not going to, then, because in order to get where you want to go (unless you don’t care to go anywhere) you have to put the time in, and really focus and develop a disciplined routine, and get yourself into developing some positive habits. It doesn’t have to suck, in fact, it can be very rewarding and fun to know you’re putting yourself on the right path.
Look at all the folks out there who make one or two tracks a year and put them on soundcloud. Look at all the folks who make godawful mashups, combining one shitty artist with an even shittier artist, adding nothing to the sound, but expect you to them seriously as a producer! Look at all the DJs who don’t know what they’re doing, and spin the same tracks as everyone else, and think they’re the coolest DJ on the planet! There’s so much of that nonsense out there, and if you really get yourself motivated and develop some decent habits, you’ll be ahead of those losers in no time! Below are some ideas to help get you started on developing your own personal routine…
Remember in Step 2 when I asked you to find some successful people who’ve gotten what they want out of life? Put up a photo of them on your wall in a place you’ll see it quite often. Put up quotes by them that encourage you. Read those quote as you go to bed, and as you walk up, as well. Get in the habit of looking at yourself they you look at them – as an extremely motivated individual who is willing to do what it takes to get wherever the fuck you want to go.
Everyday, consult your vision (the one you wrote down after Step 1) and reread your ultimate win and your ultimate fail, and picture both of those in your mind, as vividly as possible. I remember getting an awesome little pocket-sized notebook from my sister as a gift, and on the first page, I wrote, “What would the most motivated man alive be doing right now?” Whenever I open up the notebook, which is quite often, I see this question on the first page and it inspires me. Why not try to be the most motivated person you know? If you really commit to it and work towards that goal, you will automatically put yourself ahead of so many people around you! (Note: this does not mean you have to be a ruthless asshole who stomps and everyone else around them. You don’t have to make other people around you worse to make yourself better, and that’s an important footnote to keep in your mind…)
Another important thing is to get the blood flowing to your brain, and that means getting exercise on a regular basis. You don’t have to be a marathon runner in the literal sense, or be able to lift 400 pounds, but you need to get your blood flowing. The benefits are probably obvious, but here’s something to think about – exercise creates dopamine. Dopamine discourages depression, and makes you feel great. When you feel great, you’re way more equipped to handle what you need to do, and it’s easier to do it, too… When you’re in shape, you’re likely to feel better and things around you will seem more positive, and you’ll have a much better ride in life, too!
Goal setting is important. I mentioned goals, but here’s a little bit more about why it’s important – you need to see the long term, but you have to know what steps you can take in the short term to get there. If it helps, work backwards… Consider your ultimate goal. Let’s say you’re a musician who wants to play shows, and you want to want Daft Punk to headline for YOU… Well, what would come before that? Likely, you will need a reputation as a hit-making creative mastermind who knows what he’s doing and has the fans to make headlining a show with Daft Punk a reality… Ok, so what needs to happen for this to become a reality? Well, you need to have great songs, and that means you need to know what it takes to make a great song… Also, you need to have fans, and that means you’re going to have to learn how to market yourself and get your music out to them. In order for that to happen, you need start out by figuring out what kind of music you want to make, branding yourself, and getting your music out to as many people as possible.
I’m not going to talk about branding and marketing in this section, as that’s a WHOLE other topic that I could elaborate on a lot more, and this is an article on motivation and help for defining and outlining your personal goals and dreams, so here’s my advice – write down (in my ‘backwards-order,’ if it helps) what short term steps you think necessary to get to the top of your game, and then go about figuring out how to market yourself and how to make the music of your dreams. Be rigid with your self discipline, and do not let yourself give up.
4. Ignoring doubt
What’s the difference between a crazy person who thinks he’s God and never doubts himself at all – and an incredibly motivated person who’s trying to get ahead and build him or herself the greatest creative life possible? Well, beyond the obvious god part, I don’t know what the difference is, and I don’t fucking care. Clearly, if you make a wrong move, you can see that you messed up, and compensate for it, but don’t even think of doubting the end goal – which is to stay hungry and keep trying as hard as hell to achieve what you want – and accomplishing smaller goals until you’re able to achieve your major goals. After you’ve achieved all of that, it’s up to you to make new goals! If you follow all of this advice, chances are you’ll be in such a prolific and positive routine that you’ll want to achieve even more, when the time comes.
Also, don’t worry, you’re probably nothing like the crazy person. That was just an example to get you thinking. The basic idea is just to ignore doubt, and to focus on thinking positively.
And also, fuck nay-sayers.
Ok, so here’s the deal with nay-sayers – if you’re really trying to be the most motivated person you know, chances are, other people around you are a little less motivated than you. Maybe it’s wise to not tell how successful you plan to be (but still be sure to write it down!) Or, maybe you’re lucky enough to be around extremely encouraging folks who want nothing more than for you to succeed! And hey, maybe your incredible motivation will rub off on them once they see you systematically and impatiently achieving your goals, one by one.
You have to creatively develop a lifestyle that is right for you, and that might mean developing your own mantra to repeat, one hundred times, every morning… or perhaps it means organizing your own workflow – maybe you work better in the morning, or the evening, and you need to listen to a certain style of music to get your mind going, etc. But the point of saying, ‘fuck nay-sayers,’ is that some people might just hate to see you get ahead. If others want to sit around and get stoned and talk about stupid shit, let them. You can be successful without them, don’t try and convert your friends to the aim of achieving as much as you will – BUT – if they are dragging you down, don’t let them. They are negatively influencing your energy. You don’t have to run the race 24/7, but if you lose your ambition, you’re not just taking a break from the race, you’re running backwards. And losing. You don’t have to be mean to un-ambitious people in your life, just stay in your own prolific and productive mental state. If you can’t do it around them, start to distance yourself from them.
Like I said, hopefully, people around you are encouraging you. But if they’re discouraging you, well, who cares what doubters say? Chances are they’re a little intimidated with how motivated you are, and consciously or unconsciously scared that the contrast between your motivation and theirs will make them feel like a fucking loser. Fuck that. If they want to get ahead, they can certainly try. You’re not stopping them from winning, and you’re not stopping them from losing, so they sure as hell shouldn’t try and stop you from being a winner. It would be unfair for them to steal your energy from you. Don’t let them! That’s a crime!
So, decide to be a winner. Work for it. Be a brilliant ubermensch from the future who never gives up in his or her breathtakingly motivated creative pursuits. Have the energy of a coke high without having to rely on cocaine. Have the creativity of a musician of acid, without having to rely on acid. All the potential for all of these things is in you, right now – you might just need to develop it. But it’s entirely possible. Why not see how far you can go?