Think like a winner!
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
It’s easy to think about all the things we don’t have. And because it’s easier, we often find ourselves getting depressed about those things — that we want, or even need them.
There are plenty of theories about why this is the case. And while they’re interesting and worth reading up on, what matters is that we can — and should — change the way we think. We should start to think like a winner.
Dwelling on what we don’t have is a scarcity mindset.
Being grateful for what we do have is an abundance mindset.
Your lot in life is neither good nor bad — unless you make it so.
That’s because your current situation is composed of facts. Where you live, what you own, what you do with your time — all of those things are objective facts.
How you choose to interpret those facts constitutes your mindset.
For example, I can choose to look at my band in two ways:
We have two successful album releases, fans in every continent on the planet, we’ve had our songs featured in prime time television multiple times, we play to big crowds in our hometown, we consistently get emails from people telling us our music has changed their lives and we’ve seen some really cool places and met some really cool people all because of the music we make.
We never got a record deal, we never had a booking agent, we never had our songs in theatrical film, we never had a headlining national tour, we never pressed a vinyl record…
Facts are facts — they don’t change.
But you can change the way you think about those facts. Think like a winner.
Even when things are tough, you can re-interpret your situation.
You can think: “Nobody came out to see my last show. I’m a failure. There’s no way I can make it as a musician. It’s my dream and I’ll never achieve it.”
Or you can think: “There were 15 people at my last show. That’s not a whole lot, but it’s a lot better than just playing to the bartender. If I work hard, I can get those 15 people to each bring at least one other person to my next show. And someone actually told us that our show made his night! It’s awesome that my music is making an impact on people’s lives.”
In both scenarios, there’s a lot of work to be done. But who do you think will have an easier time — the person who dreads what’s up ahead? Or the person who loves the idea of working hard to reach a goal?
Which of those two have decided to think like a winner?
Change your mindset so that you don’t need more to be happy.
This isn’t saying that you shouldn’t strive for more. More would still be fantastic! You should stay hungry and work hard for more.
But it’s not required to make you happy — it’s just rewarding in its own right.
(Do you see what the difference is?)
How can an abundance mindset help you as a musician?
You won’t feel like you have to take shitty deals in order to be successful.
We’ve all read the articles about how stupid it is that promoters, bar owners, wedding planners, etc., are all lowballing musicians. Offering a measly $100 to a band of four to play three hours worth of music.
If you have an abundance mindset, you’ll have no problem laughing at such a deal. You know that you are enough and you have enough. That $100 is probably not worth your time. You can book a better show on your own. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
If you have a scarcity mindset, you’ll likely take it — even if you’re grumbling to yourself about it.
That’s because people with a scarcity mindset don’t think they have enough. “$25 per person for three hours of work sucks, but we need that money!”
(As an aside, I’m not saying that $100 for a night isn’t always a shitty deal. If you’ve never played a show and you’re offered $100, that should be a deal you take. But it doesn’t take very long to become established to a point where $8.33/hour per person isn’t worth it.)
But even then, shitty deals don’t end after you’re “above” playing weddings for $100.
There are a ton of bands who are stuck in shitty deals. A lot of them saw a record contract or a booking agent that wanted to sign them, and they rushed to sign the dotted line.
“OMG, we have a record deal! We’ve finally made it!”
Well, not exactly.
Often with independent bands that don’t have much of a fan base, a record deal can leave you in a worse position as opposed to just continuing on your own.
A record label never wants to release an album that’s “not ready”. But it could take a long time — years, even — before the label decides an album is “ready”.
So what happens? They “shelve” the record, and ask you to keep playing shows until the audience is big enough to consume it. Oh, and you can’t release anything before the album you’ve signed a deal for is released. Didn’t you read the fine print?
That means years of touring and having nothing to sell at your shows.
And by the time the record is “ready” for release? You might have changed your sound, and attitude towards that music, entirely.
Getting out of the deal means paying a ton of money to cover the label’s costs for production and distribution — or changing your name and basically starting over.
All because you thought you had to take the deal at the time.
But if you had an abundance mindset, you would have thought: “I have enough, I am enough. What can this deal really do for me?”
When you think like a winner, you don’t jump at just any opportunity. If you’re used to winning, you know that good opportunities come to you often, and you can take the time to evaluate each one.
You’d take the time to read the fine print. You’d settle into a discussion with the label; like any other entrepreneur presented with a contract. If you didn’t like the deal and told them so, they would throw their arms up and pretend to walk away.
Your response: “Ok. Thanks anyway. Sorry it couldn’t work out for both of us.”
Can you imagine being so confident in your music that you turn a record label down?
Having an abundance mindset makes you think: “I already have enough, so what can you add to that? What can you do for me?”
It puts the power in your hands, not theirs. They want to work with you.
And if you take the time and effort that’s needed to build your audience, that’ll happen.
You won’t beg for record deals. You won’t call a booking agent 1,000 times trying to convince them to sign you.
You’ll be too big to go unnoticed.
If you sell out the coolest bar in town 3 times in a row, labels and agents will know who you are. If you’re charging $15 a head and selling 200 tickets, who wouldn’t want a cut of that?
Instead, you’ll ask them what they can add to that. You’ll think, “we’re already selling out clubs on our own. What can an agent — who’ll take 20% — do for us?”
That’s not to say booking agents don’t add value — they can, and do. But not always, and that’s why you need to have an abundance mindset to make sure they don’t just sneak in and leech off of your hard work.
The facts won’t change. The way you interpret them can.
And that interpretation can make a real, measurable difference on your success.