No one ever said that being a musician was going to be easy. Yes, playing music makes you happy and you are passionate and talented but making a career out of music takes a lot of hard work and perseverance. So feeling doubtful and pessimistic about where you are headed with your music career is natural. However, it is important to hang on to all the positive thinking you were doing when you first decided to pursue music!
Positive thinking at its root involves holding positive expectancies for one’s future. This is important mostly because it has implications for behavior. Expectations about the consequences of your actions motivate you to keep trying or to simply give up. If you expect that all of your efforts will one day pay off, you’ll keep working hard and giving it your all. When those negative thoughts start seeping in, your efforts reflect that and in an industry as competitive as music do you really have time for that?
So now that you have your positive thinking straight let’s work on being optimistic.
Psychologists describe optimism as an explanatory style in which you take credit for your successes and attribute your failures to situations-specific factors outside of yourself, of course the caveat here is that you have to be making an honest effort. So if you want to stay optimistic, don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re awesome and you’re talented, if you didn’t get the gig you wanted don’t get don’t let your self-esteem go to shambles. Perhaps the promoters were just looking for a different genre at the time. But, keep in mind this is not an excuse to blame other people or random events like the weather for your failures! As mentioned earlier, the optimistic explanatory style’s benefits are seen most when there is meaningful effort put out in achieving goals. Further, after a failure it is important to actively look at your environment for feedback and ways to improve the effectiveness of your efforts in the future. Find ways to control the things in your environment that you once felt were uncontrollable.
Now that you are thinking positively and being more optimistic sit back and reap the benefits. Not only has optimism been proven to be associated with higher levels of achievement but optimism has also been proven to have positive benefits for your physical well being. Studies show that high levels of optimism are related to things like faster recovery from illness and resistance to stress and depression. Studies have even shown that optimists live longer than their pessimist counterparts!
According to an article in Psychology Today, “The greatest risk to failure is not being overly optimistic but in not being optimistic enough, it lies in not thinking big enough, and not committing deeply enough to your dream”. So go out there and be optimistic, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!