Worrying About the Wrong Things

by David · 5 comments


It seems like not too long ago that I wanted to be a musician. I remember this electric feeling I use to get every time I walked into a recording studio or sat down to write a song.  Music is something I’m still passionate about and I secretly wish I stuck at it.

To cut a long story short, I gave up because it was difficult. I gave up because I wasn’t getting the recognition I thought I ‘deserved’, however, looking back It’s now clear that I was doing just fine. I was enjoying myself. I was passionate.  And I was happy even though it didn’t make me any money.

Why  did I give up on something I loved so dearly? The honest truth is I got caught up in wanting to be ‘successful’.  I wanted  others to tell me my music was great. I wanted to be a star. And when I didn’t get the validation I felt I ‘deserved’ I began to feel inadequate. My focus shifted from making music to getting attention, and that extinguished what made music special; this also meant I was spending less time making music – which would have helped me to improve and get  more of the attention I desired.

I’m telling the story of my failed music career because I learned a valuable lesson: not to worry about what people think.

Its happened to me with my writing also, and I’ve noticed that when my mind is occupied with what people are going to think I don’t write as much, my writers anxiety resurfaces and writing becomes painful. For me, the best way to deal with this is to block everyone out and focus on the task at hand – writing.

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.  ~Don Herold

  • Don’t stop the music! I’m glad you’re writing about this. I have felt the same way recently about painting. It’s only when I do it for the sake of doing it that I progress. 
    I read a good book about this subject too! “Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity”by Hugh MacLeodI also wrote a post about it that sort of goes along with yours. http://www.learnlanguagehacker.com/2011/10/learning-language-trap-little-success.htmlAnd also, Here’s something that goes along with that theme:http://t.co/6TPbiCt9Love him or hate him, Benny does not care what others think. He just learns and speaks without shame! And he does very well! Gotta be inspired!Thanks again for sharing your thoughts today! -Zach

  • There is a problem between “getting a career” and what others think. In music (like other arts and subjective endeavours), if you don’t get recognition (even by being a good teacher of the subject), you can’t make a living. And if you can’t make a living of it, you just can’t give it your complete earnest, free time is not that abundant (usually).

    Of course, you should never think about others with respect with what you do for fun. Or if you are sure you are on your way to “making it”. But these are mostly disconnected paths.


    • That’s an interesting way of looking at it. 

      For me, It’s always a case of doing what I love doing regardless if it’s for money or as a hobby. 

      If you get good enough at your hobby you can make a living out of it, but either way the most important factor is having fun 😀

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been trying (and still am trying) to make money with my website. I’ve failed several times and started again with something new. Although one of the end goals is making money, if I fail then at least I’ve learned something in the process. To have a goal is good, but one shouldn’t forget enjoying the path getting there. Thanks for your post, it just remeinded me of this:-)

    • I couldn’t agree more. For me, there isn’t much point doing something that you don’t enjoy – life is way too short! 

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