NEW ALBUM FROM YOUR BOY MRNES
45 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old
By: Alex K. / Source: Kangalex
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. Forgive but don’t forget.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
ne of the most destructive of creative sins is an over-inflated ego. When many people hear the word “ego,” they immediately think of the know-it-all manager charging into the room and insisting that everyone bend their life and work around his every whim. This is certainly one exhibition of ego, but there are less obvious types that we must be careful to avoid if we want to do our best creative work consistently.
Brilliant creative work requires a willingness to take risks, to experiment, and to venture into unproven territory in the pursuit of great ideas. When an inflated ego becomes the norm, you may become inflexible and unwilling to take the small personal risks necessary to break out of your comfort zone and pour yourself fully into your work. Others hover close to their safety zone, because they’d rather live with the perception of invulnerability than to take a risk and find that they have limits. This is obviously a recipe for underperformance, so be aware of these hidden ego-fueled dangers that can come with creative work:
Ego Trap #1: Playing the victim
I recall several instances as a child when playing a game with others that there was a disagreement over the rules. When the argument got heated, the disagreeable party would inevitably say something like “Fine! Then I’m taking my ball and going home!” They would rather opt-out of the game than be flexible enough to find a compromise and continue playing.
While very few people would actually be so obvious about their protest in a work context, the results can be comparable. It plays out in a much more subtle, behind-the-scenes kind of way. When we’re playing the victim, our internal dialogue goes something like “if they won’t listen to my ideas, then I’m just not going to offer them any more” or “there’s no use in trying very hard on this project, because my efforts won’t be valued anyway.” At first, this may not seem like a form of ego, but it is. You are putting your own need for recognition ahead of the work and ahead of the mission of your team.
Unfortunately, this kind of disengagement means that you are not putting yourself fully into the work in front of you, and thus are abdicating your contribution. You are allowing someone else to control your efforts rather than taking charge of your own engagement. You must stay alert to the “victim” voice inside your head and not allow it to cause you to withhold your best work.
Ego Trap #2: Aggressive defense of your “turf”
When you sense that someone else is encroaching on something you perceive as your area of influence, you feel a need to protect your standing or authority and refuse to allow others to become the leading voice. You may even take credit for the ideas of others, or refuse to allow them to stand in the spotlight. This can also play out as snark, cynicism, or extreme criticism of the work of others. You immediately call out things as “too obvious” or “amateurish” in the effort to make your own work look more valuable.
There is a vast chasm between confidence in your abilities, and an over-inflated ego. Ego says “I can do no wrong”, whereas confidence says “I can get this right.” Confidence says “I’m valuable” while ego says “I’m invaluable.” This is a critical difference in mindset. Be aware when you are generally contributing and when you are simply trying to protect the status quo. Losing some of your “turf” may seem scary, but it’s really an opportunity to stay one step ahead.
Ego Trap #3: Being easily offended
Have you ever met “that person” who perceives everything as a personal attack? It doesn’t matter what you say to them or how nicely you say it, they will somehow twist it into an insult. Similarly, some people treat any disagreement as an indication that you are questioning their competence. Both of these are a subtle displays of inflated ego.
When you put your self-perception ahead of the work, you are in danger of compromising your best efforts. Collaboration also becomes more challenging, because others grow tired of walking on eggshells. You must nix the tendency to be easily offended, and instead embrace the opportunity that disagreements or disconfirming information provide to sharpen your thoughts and skills.
For sure, there is a right and a wrong way to deliver criticism. The correct response to poorly delivered criticism isn’t to get offended, it’s to offer a helpful suggestion on how you’d like to receive feedback in the future.
Do not allow the subtle effects of an inflated ego to rob you of your contribution. Yes, be confident, but also be adaptable. Pour yourself fully into your work, but be willing to listen to disconfirming information and opinions. If you do, you will be far better positioned to unleash your best creative work every day.
What happens after you’ve tried a new productivity routine for a few hours, a day, or even a week only to then find yourself seemingly right back where you started? Do you give up? Or try once more with renewed determination to make the habit stick?
Your answer to the above question plays a massive role in your ability to bring about change in many areas of your life, including your time investment. Losing weight doesn’t happen in a completely linear fashion, and neither does retraining yourself to make a new behavior stick. New habits happen in a two steps forward, one step back pattern. It’s not just having the right system that matters, but grooving the habit so that you reflexively respond in the correct manner.
Here’s how to keep at it, even when faced with the inevitable discouraging relapses that can happen in the process of creating lasting behavioral change:
Determine what led to the relapse
When you notice that you have reverted to an old way of behaving, it’s tempting to take the easy way out by blaming the system or blaming yourself. Whether you take the “Stupid Technique” or “Stupid Me” approach, you end up diminishing your desire to try again because you see yourself as a victim of external circumstances. To experience lasting habit change, you need to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn what you can do to create a different outcome in the future. Instead of overreacting to the blip, step back from it, see it as an incident instead of an indictment, and then examine it like Sherlock Holmes looking for clues.
For example, you could ask yourself: What happened before the slip? Did I encounter a specific trigger event such as a last-minute client request? Was there an unusual circumstance such as sickness? When did I first notice the reversion in my behavior? Is some part of this routine unsustainable and if so, how could I adjust it to make it more realistic?
Once you determine what happened that led to the relapse, proactively decide what new pattern of replacement behavior you want to practice. For example: If I start to feel frantic, then I will step away from my computer and plan out my day instead of jumping into more work. If I receive a last-minute client request, then I will think through whether to accept it or to decline the short deadline. If I am sick, then I will reduce my exercise routine and increase my sleep time.
Recognize deviations quickly by checking in daily
Recording what you do on a daily basis can help you more rapidly notice when you get off track. For example, I’ve had clients who have benefited from writing up their daily accomplishments in Evernote or going down a checklist at the end of each day. These reviews of the past 24 hours help you to pick up on deviations from your routine before weeks or months have passed by. By “checking in” on your habit every day, you’ll be more aware of any changes and less likely to slip up.
Remember that relapses happen
If you become afraid of any “slip” in your behavior, you can end up paranoid about falling back into old habit patterns. The way to bypass fear of failure is to give yourself permission to take life moment by moment.
When a thought comes to mind like “Why are you even trying? You’re just going to screw this up.” You can calmly acknowledge that yes, you may get off track in the future, but right here and right now you will focus on what you can do in the moment. Letting go of fear of failure lowers your perception of risk and heightens your chance of success in lasting habit change.
With the right attitude and approach, you can overcome relapses and move forward on your time investment goals.
How About You?
How do you respond when you notice a relapse in a new behavior?
This week we are going to take a brief look at the importance for you and your band to be an active member in today’s social networks, as well as some basic brand marketing tips for your band.
In our current society we are constantly glued to our tech devices and continuously downloading massive amounts of data through both our personal computers and mobile devices. In fact, over 488 million people use Facebook over a one month span with numbers growing everyday. With evidence like this it is no wonder that it is so important for artists to “put themselves out there”. Gone are the days of searching the Yellow Pages for a phone number, or buying a map to plot a course for vacation. These tasks and more are easily and efficiently carried out over the internet.
So what are some of these social networks, and which ones do I need?
An all-too-popular answer is: “all of them!” And though I don’t think this is necessary, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Remember, your goal when marketing your music will be to spread your band’s name and music as far as you can, and to everyone you can. The greatest benefit of social networking is the ability to reach millions of potential fans in mere moments, and at little to no cost to you.
Some of the most popular and beneficial social networks used today:
- Facebook – Ask just about anyone these days, and its pretty likely they have a Facebook account. One of the most popular social networks with over 488+ million users monthly, and over 42 million “Pages”, literally everyone is on Facebook. Though there is a large amount of speculation on whether or not Facebook will stand the test of time, it is clear that this social network will play a large and vital role in your bands social image. Recently Facebook has also added a hashtag (#) feature similar to Twitter which is certain to increase branding for those looking to market and advertise within the network.
- Twitter – The second most popular social networking site would definitely have to be Twitter. Intended for short bursts of information, it is a great way to reach your audience on a more personal level. Garnering attention through re-tweets is a great way to allow your fans to advertise for you by means of sharing stories with their respective followers. Offering incentives to your followers is a great way to get re-tweets flowing by encouraging fans to do the heavy lifting for you. Though not as popular as Facebook, Twitter still sees about 107 million US users, a great reason to get your band started.
- Youtube – Though Youtube isn’t exactly a “social network”, many of the features and abilities within the website create enormous potential to reach new audiences all over the world. Apart from having a massive collection of musicians and artists alike posting their work, Youtube has the benefit to post and catalog your music videos which you wish to showcase, as well as the ability to post content related to your brand and music such as concert announcements, backstage features, or video blogs.
- Google+ – Still fairly new to the social network game, Google started its social networking platform, Google+, in August 2007 and has been growing in users steadily since its opening. Though only about 8% of Americans older than the age of 12 have Google+ accounts, almost 48 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies are now on the new social site and growing in popularity. Fan communities are fond of the new “Circles” feature which allows users to organize groups with similar interests. Probably the most popular reason to have your band’s profile on Google+ is the ability to improve search results on Google’s parent search engine.
- Soundcloud – Easily known as one of the most popular free websites to host and stream music, since its opening Soundcloud has improved and offered many great features to help musicans and sound artists share their music. Not only can you stream your music here to your fans, your fans will be able to favorite, share and comment on tracks you post.
- Reverb Nation – Though decreasing popularity in recent months, Reverb Nation is still a popular place for musicians to host their music and share it with fans. Hosting a bokeh of different features and insight to help progress you and your band’s music, Reverb Nation can be a great place to host music and share tour dates with your fans. However, with Facebook’s new linking feature, artists can link their page to their Reverb Nation account quick and easily. By linking the two, artists can then easily share their new music on their page and direct fans to the rest of their catalog through the application.
- Myspace – Easily one of the least popular social networks today, Myspace used to be the biggest name of the block. Though not used much today, some analysts are predicting a comeback for Myspace with its revamped focus on music. In fact, this past SXSW saw the reemergence of the site as a competitor, with Justin Timberlake endorsing the new site. In order to get a chance at getting into his secret show during SX, eager fans had to create a new account on the site. Though a successful marketing ploy, I am still unconvinced of a Myspace re-emergence.
While conducting music business industry panels across the country, I’m often asked one question more than anything else: “How do I get an endorsement?” Other variations include “How do I get a sponsor?” or “How do I get free stuff?”
My philosophy is that if this is your point of view, you’re probably already doomed. Sponsors (whether music instrument companies, beer, or clothes, etc.) don’t care about what they can do for you. They care about what you can do for them – or rather, what you can do together. So to begin with, you have to switch the mentality from “What can I gain from this?” to “What can we gain from this relationship?” Below are a few things that I recommend in your approach:
Ask, straight up: There’s a saying that “the answer is always no until you ask.” In the music industry, there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, and those who wonder “what the heck just happened?” Don’t wait for an opportunity. Create it by initiating contact, networking, or asking the right questions that will get you a lead, information on how to get a sponsor, etc. Don’t be afraid in emailing, calling, or scheduling an appointment to do an in-person presentation on why they should sponsor you. That being said…
The Approach: Find a way to be unique, succinct, and intriguing with your initial contact. My rep at the largest music instrument company in the world says that he gets 300-500 emails a week asking for endorsed artist information. So why did he pick my band, The Slants, out of all of those? Because we focused on the company, not ourselves. We offered a new target audience that they weren’t reaching, we had a unique angle to our music and branding, and they would benefit from working with us. Find a way to explain why you are the “first, the only, the original” of what you do. If you need help, try 15secondpitch.com to help your approach.
Offer an Idea (or 3): Offer an idea right away that the said company could benefit from or that you two could do together to bring more business for everyone. If you are adding value to them from the start, they will be more inclined to listen to you. Make everything more about “we” than just “me.”
Try Untapped Industries: Getting sponsors/endorsements is like rolling a snowball: once you get started, it becomes easier and more people will start to pay attention. Often times, if the sponsor you’re working with is happy, they’ll refer other companies to you. To get your start, try companies with less competition. For example, try local businesses that you already frequent and see if they’d be willing to do some cross-promotional marketing. Also, smaller indie music instrument companies are often untapped compared to the big brands you see at Guitar Center.
Use Existing Resources: Have everyone in your band or circle of friends create a contact list of everyone they know: where they work, what position, etc. Use those contacts as a start; their company might not be able to help but they might know someone who can. All things being equal in life, people would rather do business with their friends.
Make it a Sales Call: Treat every contact like you would a sales call, because essentially that is what you are doing. Same exact method because you’re selling your music, your tour, your band. If you want them to “buy” through giving your product or cash, then you have to give them a reason to. Create a list of the top 3-5 reasons why they would benefit from giving you what you’re asking for. Are you providing a good return on investment for them?
Don’t Expect Free Stuff: Most endorsed artists through Fender, Gibson, Pearl, etc. don’t get free stuff (unless you’re talking world class level audiences), they get discounted stuff. Even at that, it isn’t about just getting product. It’s about creating a lasting relationship where you can build an audience together with that company.
If you want some more tips or you have some to offer yourself, feel free to comment below or hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Tam is owner of Last Stop Booking, a full service agency that offers tour booking and music consulting services. Simon has appeared on stage at over 1,200 live events and has traveled North America presenting ideas about the music industry. For more information and to see Simon’s blog on music industry advice, please visit www.laststopbooking.com
I was at a gig last night and I saw three amazing bands rocking out the stage and making people dance very hard. Note: it’s London, normally people don’t dance that hard.
The sad realization I made is that none of these bands actually makes money. Isn’t it sad? The band entertains you, makes you feel great, you pay the bar for drinks, but the musician gets nothing of monetary nature.
That brought an avalanche of thoughts and I started jotting them down! I quickly came down to 6 main reasons of failure, which you’ll definitely relate with (if you’re a musician).
Note: this order IS hierarchical. In other words, if you haven’t solved issue #1, don’t try to solve #3.
1. Lack of focus on a specific goal and vision.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll
Instead of blaming the system, musicians should blame themselves for not knowing where they’re going and having ambivalent goals.
A solo artist needs a long-term goal to focus on and a grander vision to accomplish. A band—to make matters more complicated—needs to maintain a mutual and clear route for all the 3-4-5 members that constitute it. Everybody needs to agree.
If you don’t, don’t blame the audience when you hear the phrase:
“You’re good, but you sound/look like (name other—probably well-known—artist)”
That is, you don’t stand out. Because you haven’t spend any time to refine what art means to you, who you are and why you’re different from the others.
And I don’t mean you need to be enormously ambitious to have focus on a goal. It’s good enough to say: “I will be the busker that all the people of Camden (neighbourhood of London) will talk about.”
2. They suck at communication.
Ok, let’s not hide behind our fingers. If you do have a vision, I guarantee that nobody will know about it if you haven’t communicated it properly to the world.
You can communicate a message in two ways: with words and with actions.
Speaking about actions, let me just drop some food for thought (and the hungry Musicpreneurs will get it):
The quality and nature of one’s vision is appraised according to the perception created by the context, the consistency and the progress of the visible bit of the vision.
All three must be present. In humanese: how do you expect someone to be convinced of your grand vision when you keep playing in bars and open mic nights all the time? Nobody says you don’t have a great plan behind it, but if people don’t see the signs to keep up with it, you’ve lost them forever. And that’s because of the bad communication on your part.
“Always try to build a bond and relationships that go through YOU, not through your band’s name or profile.
Everyone might be able to ignore a band’s music, but nobody can ignore the fiery passion and vision of a PERSONALITY. This is what you should sell them. Everybody’s got good music.”
In other words, if you’re a charismatic communicator, this quality will rub off on your artistic profile as well. If you don’t have this inclination, work on it and become a great verbal communicator.
3. Has anyone heard of persistence?
The vision is there, you feel confident and you got some great people supporting you. But you are on the verge of giving up.
Persistence is the key. Which part of this sentence don’t you understand?
You constantly consider giving up because you haven’t tasted the corn yet after months of harvesting. It’s alright, keep harvesting. Adding value is not a race. It’s a life-long process.
The rewards will come sooner or later. It seems you still have steps to do, you’re not there yet. How can you expect to reach the goal if you haven’t executed all the steps? That’s unnatural, dude!
An example (for you to face reality):
What would the value of Ferrari be without years of persistence to build a luxury brand, which is valued according to its durability in time? Wouldn’t it be stupid (and funny) for Enzo Ferrari to say ‘it’s too hard, I quit’, while building something that exceptional?
An advice (for you to feel better):
Do you want to feel better and quit less often? Keep following the vision you have in mind, but slice it in small, measurable and attainable sub-goals, which will help you be accountable to yourself, boost your confidence and will give you shots of gratification to keep going.
And do you want to hear the harsh truth?
Nobody owes you a living and you need to go after it. With persistence.
4. Tools are there. Know-how isn’t.
Yes, I’m saying that most musicians don’t know how to use the vast majority of tools available to them. That’s sad, so much potential goes to waste.
I’m not implying that all tools out there are relevant and useful to every musician. But when you combine strategically and skillfully some of them, you can effortlessly and cheaply create a system that will vigorously work on your behalf. Think beyond Bandcamp and Soundcloud, this is not all there is.
This is the power of the web, it shouldn’t go wasted. Especially if you have laid a coherent plan, talent and persistence on the table, the next step is the investment in knowledge. Knowing how and why.
You won’t get far without having a clear overview of the media world and the related industries that comprise it. You need to be sure where you stand in this map, and that only comes with knowledge. Some of the tools that I found most useful have nothing to do with musicians. And this is where the treasure is hidden, you cannot spot it unless you’ve build a media world map in your head. Oh Lord, how creative can this process be! You can’t imagine.
Investing in bodies of knowledge indirectly connected with the music industry is the way to go.
What kind of knowledge? A few examples: how startups work, psychology of copywriting, neuromarketing, design, how perception is formed and so on. A musician in the future will need to know about all these topics — why not invest in the future today?
5. Business model: what’s yours?
Here’s where most heads will get scratched. But this is where the root of all evil lies.
Most musicians have no business model at all or just—badly—clone existing ones. (Because this is what others do)
What a business model is NOT, to begin with:
A business model is not how you make people spend more money on what you do.
What a business model is (my favorite definition):
A business model describes how you create, deliver and capture value (economic, social, cultural or other).
In other words, you might not sell anything, but you need to have a business model! Even non-profits, whose purpose is to deliver value, need a business model. This way, they organize how they deliver that value to the world and survive in an economic environment (because everybody needs some money to sustain what they do).
What happened here? Did the hateful attitude towards the word ‘business’ reverse? Yes it did.
Business is any operation that requires some form of transaction to progress. As a musician, you’re transacting (a lot): emotions, music, experiences, products, money.
Read the Business Model Generation (a book worth buying) to get a full idea of how you can organize your assets and activities, offer more value, balance costs and revenue to make a profit. Organize, offer value, make profit. Splendid!
Having a solid vision, knowing how to translate it in words for the real world, knowing how not to quit and arming with knowledge. Assemble all that under the umbrella of a business model.
This is your part. Lots of things to sort out. You’re alone up to that point. But soon you’ll need external help. #6 it is.
6. Everyone needs some budget to get things done.
This is the #1 excuse of a musician, but in reality it’s the least important factor when it comes to building strong foundations as a band-business.
Money will be used to scale up, not to build something exceptional. I’m a big fan of bootstrapping and experimenting, just like the lean startup framework suggests. The more you experiment and play small, the more chances that you’ll create something truly exceptional.
Money is not a part of this equation. Despite the fact that most musicians think it is. Money will bring money (aka it will be used to scale up something that already makes money).
So, stop thinking about how you can fund something, start building something minimal that stands out instead. Cliché? Hell, can’t be truer.
Money is a multiplier, not a foundation.
What will you need money for?
To create a team around your project and compensate them for their time, to develop some concepts that require a budget, to use publicity services.
Where will you find that money?
1. Kickstart the well-defined project you’ve planned. You must have created some traction and gained some fans, right?
2. Find an angel investor to fund you. You’ll be accountable to them and that’s an extra motivation force. Your ‘product’ needs to be investable and scalable for Angels to be attracted. Keep in mind Bruce Warila’s articles.
3. Borrow that money. You believe much in your project, don’t you? That means you won’t be afraid to get in debt to pursue it.
What do I do next, Tommy?
Alright, hopefully you’ve read the whole article. What do you do now? How does this translate in the real music world?
Re-evaluate who you are and why you create art. What is the outcome you want: legacy, money, fame, freedom? Prioritize things and mainly focus on the number one. You can’t have it all (or at least focus on all of them on simultaneously). I focus on freedom and then legacy.
Arm yourself with knowledge. It has never been so fun and easy to learn and pursue what you want. But the good resources of knowledge are floating in a vast web. Some free, high quality knowledge sources can be found in Coursera, Udacity, edX, KhanAc
Start transforming from a hobbyist to a Musicpreneur. Start with this course on how to build a Band as a Business and a more advanced on How to Build a Startup (both are free). Follow my updates on Think Beyond The Band and read my extended report about the Musicpreneur. Watch the videos of Darker Music Talks.
Stop thinking about money. Release yourself from those thoughts. Money for scaling up comes last.
“The best way to maximize profits over the long term is not to make them the primary goal of the business” John Mackey
Go lean and experiment to find the perfect business model! The reality is I cannot give you specific advice on how to become successful and make money, because there is no universal solution yet. That’s good, only the serious Musicpreneurs will make a living, nobody owes you one! Start learning about the lean thinking and create a business model that suits your integrity. Again, this book is a must and a foundation.