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Nobody Owes You Anything

By Justin Gray (Songwriter/Producer/


You’re not entitled to any success at all. Success has to be earned through hard work, tenacity, and focus. There’s simply no other way.

I speak with a lot of new songwriters who just expect it to happen. It means acknowledgment. It means success. It means money. We talked about “IT” last week.

All of it comes with a not-insignificant amount of time, effort, and disappointment.

But the sweetest success you’ll ever experience is when no one sees you coming. Here are five helpful hints, random reminders, and existential experiences that reinforce the benefits of moving at your own pace.

Time - The biggest lie for those of us who chase our dreams is when you hear these two words… “Overnight success.”There’s literally no such thing. The number one commodity that we have is time. So it makes the most sense to invest your time in yourself. The outcome of that time investment should be happiness and satisfaction. Not money and success. You cannot achieve success without first investing in yourself. Imagine everything you do as time. Do you want to invest your time in something that will have little ROI?

Effort - OK, you’ve decided to invest your time in your career. Amazing! But are you now going to make all of the efforts and do everything that you need to do in order to use that time investment wisely? Working smarter, not harder, is a real thing. I’m a huge proponent of that cliché. But what is smarter, and what is harder? If you can combine the two to work hard and smart, and you commit enough time and effort, I guarantee that success will come your way.

Rejection - As we have discussed in blogs in the past, rejection is a gift. Taking negative feedback and applying that to your writing will only improve your writing. I believe that the worst thing you can do for your own creativity is to be overly precious about your work, and deny helpful constructive feedback. Find people that are willing to be truthful and honest with the music that you’re writing. I promise that that feedback will only improve what you do.

Anxiety - Do the work, plant the seeds, and wait to see if it grows. I once read that anxiety is pre-determining an outcome that has yet to happen. I’m not trying to misrepresent how debilitating anxiety could be. We all suffer from it from time to time. I found that the best thing to do, is to do the best work you can, send your heart out into the universe, and whatever comes back to you will come back to you.

Success - Success is amazing, but it can also be fleeting. While we are enjoying “success” it’s an incredible rush! As we all know, the power of negativity is 10 times the power of positivity. Understanding that success comes and goes, and emotion happens in peaks and valleys, you learn to understand how to manage accordingly. You will be successful, you will go through downtimes, and you will be successful again. That's how it happens!

The coda: The best part of the fact that nobody owes you anything, is that you get to develop and grow on your own time. Don’t compare yourself to others. They are too busy comparing themselves. Run your own race, beat your own drum, Sing your own song. What is meant to be, will be. Ohm!

See you next week…and keep writing those hits

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