In the article I wrote a while back about encouragement, “The Thinking Drummer: On Encouragement” I described the power of positive reinforcement from important or influential people in one’s life.
But what I didn’t touch upon, which is also a powerful force, is the negative influences, or “naysayers.” The “naysayers” are the people who tell you that it’s too hard. They tell you that you can’t do it. They tell you that you’re crazy. These people can be every where. They might even be family, or your best friend.
These negative forces can hurt you, particularly when you are walking down a path that is uncharted. I am suggesting that you shut these negative forces down. Eradicate the naysayers!
These negative forces can stop you from moving towards your elusive goal. But they can only stop you if you allow them to stop you. If you don’t listen to them, or don’t factor their negativity into your decision making, you’ll be in the clear.
I try to minimize the negativity in my life. After all, we all have our own inner demons, and they make things harder already. Everyone has some self doubt, so first we have to eradicate our own inner naysayer. Why put up with even more?
On occasion, I have decided not to discuss ideas or plans of mine with people who have demonstrated what I think is small minded thinking. When I repeatedly experience nothing but negativity from someone, I stop dealing with them.
The problem for some people is that they allow the negativity of others to stop them in their tracks. Please don’t let this happen to you. I promise you that any dream you have is possible. But it certainly won’t be possible if you don’t try.
That is what the naysayers can do to you if you let them, they can rob you of your dreams. Now, to be completely honest, if your dream is to be a rock star or a drummer in a huge band, the odds are against you. It is very difficult. It will take lots of hard work. It will take luck. It will take perseverance. It will take time. And then it will take more hard work. And even then it might not happen. There are no guarantees.
But what I do guarantee is this: if you listen to the naysayers and give up, then nothing will happen.
Just because there are no guarantees doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do you have a dream? Do you love drumming so much that you have no choice but to pursue it? Do you need to make music? If so, you should do so.
The naysayers have other needs. The naysayers need stability and a sure path. Don’t let them bring you to the dark side. Great things are difficult and come with uncertainty and risk.
I get very angry when I hear people tell others they can’t do something.
So, I implore you; if you have a dream, you should pursue it….and eradicate the naysayers!
1) When I worked at Columbia Records as an executive, I eventually wound up earning a lot of money. The financial part of the job was very comfortable for me. But what was not comfortable was the amount of time I was able to spend on my artistic pursuits. So, I quit.
Several of the senior executives (naysayers) at the company told me I was nuts. “You’re making this much money and you’re just going to walk away? Are you out of your mind?!”
But I did it because I had become miserable there. My life was not going to be what I needed it to be if I stayed. I make much less money today, but I am much happier.
2) A very close friend of mine who I will call “Fred,” was asked to audition for a great band as the lead guitarist. The band was playing bigger venues than Fred had ever played in his career. The gig paid better money than Fred had ever made playing in a band. The people in the band were pretty well connected. Everything about it sounded great to me.
The catch was that the guitar parts were difficult. Fred was concerned that he would not be able to play the music as required and was not sure if he would even take the audition.
“You have to this,” I said. “They asked you to audition, and they’ve heard you play before, so that has to mean something. They think you can do it.”
Some of the people in Fred’s inner circle said some very discouraging things; suggesting that the audition could be a disaster.
“Don’t listen to that stuff,” I said. “Learn the songs, and learn the solos to those songs the best you can. Practice a lot….hours and hours.”
So Fred practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. After a few days of this, and with a few days left before the audition, Fred called me up.
“I’m starting to think that I might actually be able to do this,” he said.
The next day, when we spoke again, he said, “I think I might get this gig.”
The next day was the audition, and Fred aced it. He got the gig.
I’m looking forward to going to see his first show with this band, at a big venue that I have not yet had the pleasure of playing myself.
So, imagine, what if he had listened to the few people who discouraged him?
This is why you must eradicate the naysayers.
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