By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/Founderwww.wearemdiio.com)
You are not good enough.
And you never will be.
If you think you are, then stop reading this blog. It doesn’t pertain to you.
You can always be better.
Contentment is the enemy of ambition. It doesn't matter if you are 1 or 100 years old, we are all always filled with potential and promise. But when you accept where you are as being the best that it gets, then this is the best it will ever get. Waking up every day with an incessant and voracious appetite to learn and grow is what helps us truly reach our potential. Guess what? There’s always more potential. Potential is a never-ending and renewable source of motivation. One never runs out of it.
Step 1. Can you accept the fact that you are not good enough?
Step 2. Can you recognize the habits that need to be broken, or the ones that need to be reinforced?
Step 3. Do you have the capability of actually breaking those habits, and forming new ones?
Step 4. Do you have the capacity to accept failure as part of your success?
Step 5. Do you openly and willingly accept and acknowledge success with open arms?
Everyone has the ingrained proclivity for self-sabotage. By never really "going for it" we never expose ourselves to failure. Failure helps us learn and grow.
Failure is a gift.
Here are five affirmations to help you jumpstart your journey, refocus your focus, and unlock your treasure trove of awesomeness.
Acceptance - Perhaps the hardest thing that we have to do every day is to face ourselves in the mirror. It’s easy to put on a façade for others around you to project an image of success, happiness, or excitement. Instagram anyone? Deep down however when we look at ourselves, we know the truth. The first step to truly being honest with yourself is recognizing and accepting the fact that you’re not perfect. Understanding your weaknesses AND STRENGTHS as a songwriter will always lead you down the right creative paths. Once we do that, change and growth are inevitable.
Habits - There are good habits, and there are bad habits. When we form these habits, we are training ourselves to have certain needs and expectations. The habit of going to the gym or working out every day is a good habit. The habit of reading books to gain knowledge is a good habit. The habit of taking shortcuts is a bad habit. Recognizing both your good and bad habits is the next step in knowing what needs to change. More good. Less bad. Doing the same things that you’ll always do, both good and bad, will reinforce your behavior. Are you gifting yourself time every day to be creative? Challenge yourself to write 30 songs in 30 days. They don’t have to be complete songs. Even ideas are fine. What you will find is that once you’ve exhausted your tried and true usual tricks, a whole new level of creativity will unlock. That’s a good habit.
Change - The hardest part of becoming a butterfly is the metamorphosis. Accepting that you need to change certain behaviors and habits in order to become your butterfly is perhaps the most crucial step in your development. Admitting you were wrong and changing course can be scary and intimidating. We all know it’s much easier to continue doing what you’re doing because those outcomes are predictable. By changing what you’re doing, you can change those outcomes. There are so many producers out there still using old versions of ProTools or Logic or Ableton, because it’s much easier to stay in that version than it is to upgrade their computers and their plug-ins and their operating systems. But how can you be competitive when you’re not giving yourself the same tools that the people at the top level are giving themselves? Forcing yourself to learn new technology and upgrade your IQ is fundamental and making that necessary change.
Failure - Do you think Edison discovered the lightbulb on his first try? That’s why there are prototypes. It’s permission to fail and learn and pivot and readjust. Songs that you’re writing today are better than songs that you wrote last year, and the year before that. The learnings that we earn from failure are almost always more important than the learnings we glean from success. Failure can be demoralizing at the time, but ultimately beneficial long term. Winning is so much easier than losing. But losing is how you improve. Not one single song that became a hit was written, done, recorded, and produced without revisiting a lyric or melody, or production decision.
Acceptance pt.2 - Part of our self-sabotage is the inability to expect and accept our successes. And because it’s difficult to accept success, in strange ways, we do whatever we can to avoid success. We act like we don't deserve it. Because once you get that brass ring, what’s the point right? Early in my career, all I wanted was a gold plaque to represent my hard work. An acknowledgment of my efforts. I saw them on other people's walls and became consumed by jealousy. The day I got my first gold award I was ecstatic. For an hour. Then, I looked at it in the backseat of my car and was immediately overwhelmed with a strong sense of disappointment. That’s it? This is what I wanted all this time? I don’t feel any different! It took me too long to realize even the smallest wins deserve to be celebrated…but don’t dwell on them. Acknowledge them, and move on. Success is a validation that we all need. Sure, a few World Series have been won from a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. But having done absolutely zero research, I can guarantee you that more World Series were won with singles or doubles, and a concerted effort over the course of nine innings. Success takes time. All my gold and platinum records are currently in storage.
The CODA: True talk. Your dreams of super success in the music industry as either a songwriter or an artist or producer are tough. The odds are not in your favor. And despite what you might believe there’s seldom overnight success, and rarely are Grammys awarded to people who haven’t invested their own time and money into their own dreams. Nobody’s gonna do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. So don’t be worried if you feel like you’re not good enough, you never will be. And THAT is what will keep you going!
See you next week, and keep writing them hits!