Why does happiness matter? Because you can drive yourself absolutely batshit in your pursuit of success. You can make yourself miserable. I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. I’ve sucked the joy out of my own method for creating joy. There’s a fine line between aspiration and misery. On the misery side, you’re constantly measuring yourself against where other people are. You’re impatient - why can’t I make better music by now? Why doesn’t this hit the way I want to? Why have I mastered my DAW yet? So to keep yourself just a bit healthier (I say a bit because being a little neurotic over music has its benefits.), try these tactics while you're pursuing the dream.
Be as emotionally neutral to losing as you can. In the pursuit of production, as with anything worthwhile, you’re gonna have your victories and your defeats. Lots of defeats. You flash a Kanye shrug and you keep working and moving toward your goals.
Celebrate the small victories. Got a manager to return to your email after three months? Celebrate. Made the one friend who’s never feeling your beats finally nod his head? Celebrate.
Be patient with yourself. Greatness takes time. Excellence takes time. You think you’re gonna be the shit after making beats for a few years? Nah son. You think that 10,000 rule is a game? It’s not. Have you ever done the math to break down how many hours a day or week you need to put in to achieve the necessary 10,000 hours to achieve mastery? There’s a calculator online for it. Google it. Be patient. Keep working. Now that’s not to say that you don’t maintain a certain level of urgency because time is nipping at your heels. But it means you make sure you get in your craft mastery time as often as possible. Daily. Then let the hours you’ve spent mastering your craft turn into progress. Maintain your patience in the meantime.
Strive to learn as much of the business as possible before you need it. Success can explode into your world faster than you realize. It only takes the right song heard by the right person at the right time. What you don’t want to is all of a sudden have to play music business catch-up and try to run with the people who do this all day every day, because then you put yourself in prime position to get jerked. And at that point, happiness is long gone. Study beforehand. Don’t wait. Prepare for your success.
- Surrender to your weaknesses. You can drive yourself absolutely batshit by stressing over the parts of your production that you don’t excel at. Maybe you don’t have an ear for mixing at all; you can never make it sound the way you want. Maybe despite all your efforts, your drums aren’t quite as great as you like. I suffered from both of those ailments. This is why we collaborate, why we seek the influence of others who are strong where we are weak. Instead of being angry because some aspect of production never bends to your will, work with someone who is a G in that area. Think about the end product. Is the beat significantly better through collaboration? Then it’s worth it. We have to stop thinking that we have to do it all. Flip over one of those records you have lying around and see all of those names, all those collaborators, all of those creators who brought a particular area of genius to contribute to the whole. In the end, your collaboration could lead you to ultimately strengthening that weakness much faster than you could have done on your own.