I was working with this artist and his music is really good and most artist I work with their music is good but this guy’s music is so good I actually wanted to learn more about how he’s doing and to my surprise he has little fans and barely any following and it got me thinking, why doesn’t this guy have any fans?
And then he sent me an email with a whole bunch of exclamation marks in all caps and I don’t want to go into what he said but he was rude and justified by saying he’s a “perfectionist”.
Now I’ve heard the “I’m a perfectionist” thing many times, and would always agree, it’s great to be particular. But now I understand where that “I’m a perfectionist” thing is coming from and it’s the reason why most artists are suffering and you are not going to like why.
And it’s the reason I suffered and the reason pretty much most people are suffering and it’s because we don’t know who we really are.
We think we’re the amount of fans or followers or streams we have.
We think we’re the clothes we wear or the possessions we hoard.
We think we’re the amount of money we have or don’t have.
We think we’re the job we have or the country we’re from or the color of our skin or our height or bodytype.
Now lots of us have an idea that we’re not those things (or at least have a suspicion we’re not those things), but when it comes to our art, we think our art is our art. Right? “This is my song, I made this song”. But the same holds true.
You are not your songs.
You are not how your song’s sound.
You are not how good or bad the guitar solo sounds.
You are not how good (or bad) your singing voice is or how dope (or trash) your raps are.
You are not how hard the 808s hit.
You are also not how well or poor your songs perform.
BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT YOUR RESULTS.
Please print this out or at least say this to yourself at least 3 times a day. LOL.
I AM NOT MY RESULTS.
I AM NOT MY RESULTS.
I AM NOT MY RESULTS.
You are not who you think you are and by putting this unnecessary pressure on yourself you’re not allowing your art to be as good as it can be.
Why? Because when you’re giving yourself this imaginary pressure, this expectation of results, you’re going against the creation process, because results come last.
So what happens when you create as a means to an end? You create from a place of stress. And when you’re in a stressed out state, your brain moves into a narrow state of mind and isn’t able to make the broad connections necessary for great art.
This is because that narrow state of mind is all about preservation of life, not about creating great art.
This is just how humans evolved. When a lion was chasing our ancestors, their bodies had to release stress chemicals like cortisol to prepare them to either fight the lion or run from the lion. Cavepeople weren’t drawing in caves, while lions were chasing them.
The cave drawing happened in a relaxed state, likely after they accidentally set some plants on fire and inhaled the smoke. LOL.
So when you make a song and it’s not as good as you think it should be, to your body it feels as if a lion is chasing you.
And it goes much deeper than that.
If your song isn’t perfect, then you are not perfect, and you needed to be perfect to survive growing up to deal with your crazy parents and your crazy surroundings.
So when you say “I’m a perfectionist”, no you’re not. All those things you think you are, I call the Ego or Self.
It is your Ego which identifies as a perfectionist in order for it to shame you, judge you and most importantly to maintain control over you.
You see the illusion that most people are living under is that they think they are their thoughts.
And yes this is getting deep for a blog on a mixing and mastering service. LOL.
But just like you are not your possessions, you are not your thoughts. We have over 6000 thoughts a day, which thoughts are you exactly?
The thought to kill the guy who cut you off in a traffic or the thought to give the homeless lady at the streetlight some money?
You are none of those thoughts. And I don’t want to go into who you really are, because you are probably either confused or your whole world has just been blown open.
But I will just leave you with this: You are not your thoughts, you are the awareness of those thoughts.
So in your life and especially when you create and you feel this pressure, become aware of the pressure you’re putting on yourself and don’t identify with it.
Don’t label yourself as anything. Don’t label yourself as a perfectionist. Isn’t that funny? We have this desire to create art so that we’re not put in boxes but we end up putting ourselves in boxes by saying we’re perfectionists or we’re not good enough or whatever.
Remember it is the Ego that wants to label you and the things around you, just become aware of that my friends.
That’s what it means to be self aware. It is when you’re aware of the Self (which I was calling the Ego, or your mind).
I know this is getting kind of wild. But yes you are not your mind either.
You are the awareness of your mind.
Okay fine let’s get more wild!
You are not your body either.
You are the awareness of your body.
I’m sorry I love speaking about this stuff especially with creative people, because we tap into this awareness anytime we create and are in that inspired state. But most of us think it is the Self that is making the magic happen.
Okay I’m going to stop there.
Okay one more thing, the reason why this is titled Why Most Artists Suffer and You’re Not Going to Like Why, we’ve covered the first part and second part you probably have already guessed why you’re not going to like it, it’s because you’re suffering is caused by your Self.
So your biggest obstacle is your Self and once you understand this you can begin to create from your true nature and create from the relaxed state of no pressure.
Your mind and your body are not you, they are just your tools for creating, just like your computer, microphone, guitar and drums are your tools for making music.
Once you realize you are not your tools, but are the one wielding these tools, the mind made pressure dissipates and better music is made.
Update: We’ve created a Youtube video based on this article. You can checkout below: