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Breaking Bad (Habits)

By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/Founder

I have known too many incredibly talented music creators (who I shall not mention), who never "made it." They "deserved" to. They were among the best musicians, songwriters, and producers I knew. And I probably learned more from watching them eff up, than succeed. Learning from someone else’s mistakes is a gift. Keep your eyes peeled for tutorials from the Universe. Why? Learning from other failures is an innate skill that takes time to hone. Consistently, their failure happened by creating and reinforcing their own self-made bad habits. Some were disorganized. Some were difficult to deal with. Some didn’t pay people on time, or they made too big of a fuss when they weren’t paid on time. Lack of talent was almost NEVER the reason for lack of "success." We all struggle to find our feet. But it’s hard enough hitting home runs when you keep throwing yourself curveballs. Here are five possible pitfalls, likely loopholes, and derailing decisions that we all face on a daily basis.

Doing It For The Money - There has never been a time in my career when basing a decision purely on the economic outcome worked out for me. Every time I put money before authenticity, it turned out to be a bad choice. When time is the only commodity that you can sell, make sure that those people that have access to your time deserve it. More success came out of being in the right place at the right time, than it did pre-plotting the financial rewards. Ego-Driven Choices - Ego is the enemy. When driven by ego, you are susceptible to making bad decisions. "I’m too good for them." "I deserve more." "I’m worth more." In my 25 years as a professional, ego has never served me well. Ego is not confidence. Confidence is a manifestation of your self-belief. Try to not conflate the two. Confidence is sexy…Ego is a turn-off. Blech. Holding On Too Long - I’ve seen people holding on to relationships for too long in hopes that at some point that relationship will bear the fruit that they hope it does. More often than not, those relationships never blossom into the success you hope for. When you cut off those ties, and that person goes on to "make it" without you, it means it was never meant to happen with you. Be happy for them, and move on. Every moment you waste investing in something that doesn’t work, is time you can be focused elsewhere planting new seeds. Letting Go Too Soon - I realize that this seems antithetical to the previous paragraph. But sometimes we give up too early. Failure is only failure once you quit. If you sense that you are making meaningful improvements and significant growth, then keep going. It may not happen today, tomorrow, or next month. As long as you never quit, you can never fail. If it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be. But if things are feeling stagnant…see above "Holding on too long." Toxic Partnerships - Similarly to doing things for the money, sometimes we are inclined to enter into partnerships. An amazing partnership can literally transform your life. Ironically so can a toxic one. Incredible partnerships are greater than the sum of their parts. But if you recognize that your partnerships are toxic, cut the cord and move on. It’s not them, it’s not you, it’s the chemistry of the two of you. They’ll be better off without you, and you without them. It’s hard to acknowledge a bad partnership without taking on some of the blame. Moving on will be better for everyone. The Coda: Science has proven that it is easier to develop bad habits than good ones. It is also easier to lose good habits than bad ones. Anyone who has ever been on a diet (like yours truly), knows that just one taste of a french fry can derail everything. Sure…we all need to live. And one french fry won’t kill you. But compounding bad habits on top of bad habits very well may. Look in the mirror…carefully…you are the only person who will ever really and truly be honest with yourself. What changes will you make TODAY, because these bad habits are not going to break themselves. See you next week, and keep writing them hits


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