Over the past several weeks, we’ve generously acknowledged the up and down nature of the creative journey. There will be triumphant highs alongside disheartening lows and, as we well know, the key to enduring is to ride the waves, stay level-headed and focused, and keep pushing forward with patience and persistence.
Today, I’m here to throw another variable into the equation: the notion of control.
Along your journey, you are virtually guaranteed to encounter circumstances beyond your control, and they just might throw a wrench into your plan.
- Playing an outdoor gig? That gig – and many times, the number of people in attendance – is at the mercy of the weather.
- Have a co-write scheduled? Sometimes, life happens, and people need to reschedule. You might even run into an unavoidable conflict once in a while.
- Did you put your best foot forward when submitting to an opportunity? Well… it’s still up to somebody else to decide if you will receive that opportunity, and the music industry — much like life itself — offers us no guarantees.
- Even if you’re the kindest person on Earth, you will encounter people who are not kind in return. You will have conflicts, and you will run into criticism from time to time.
- Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the early 2020s have presented industry-wide challenges that were, in many ways, completely out of our hands. (Lookin’ at you, ‘rona…)
Even despite our best efforts and wishes, the fact is that countless factors exist outside of our own influence, and some of them can lead to disappointment. However, the more we focus on that disappointment, the more powerful it becomes.
What’s an emerging musician to do, then? Simple.
Control your controllables.
No matter what the world throws your way, you still have an opportunity every day to re-center and focus on what is within your own individual sphere of influence. As you’ll see in this article, the list of your controllables is not especially long. Nonetheless, it’s important to know where to direct your attention when everything around you seems to be going haywire.
What are these “controllables,” you ask?