After my last post, a rant of severe proportion, I've decided to do a post that would be a little more useful...
Through the help of modern technology, via this thing I commonly refer to as the "interwebs", I get asked many questions from fans and aspiring drummers. The most commonly asked question as of late is this: How do I make it big like you did?
Truthfully, there is no concretely guaranteed way to accomplish this. If there was, I would have found it long ago and avoided many years of keeping hunger at bay by eating Ramen noodles and ketchup soup.
I certainly wish to be helpful, but I feel that it is my duty to be a realist over the matter. So...here's my two cents.
Step one: Be realistic. When you put the numbers to it all, there's no way that everyone is going to "make it big" in the music business. Just look at how many people play a musical instrument (A WHOLE LOT). Now look at how many hugely successful bands/artists there are out there (VERY FEW). Clearly, not everyone will become hugely successful. Once you have accepted this axiom, you can move on to step two.
Step two: Define success. You don't have to be "famous" to be hugely successful. A long while back I defined success for myself. It was a simple way of looking at it...and I still look at it this way. Success in the music business (for me) means that I never have to rely on a full-time day job for my income. Success (for me) means that on my taxes, my primary occupation reads as "Musician". Does that mean I never had to struggle? NO. Does that mean I never took part-time jobs to make sure my bills got paid? NO. What it has always meant is my primary source of income was from making music. I have always thought of myself as being successful. I never cared about fame or money...those things can lead one down unscrupulous paths in my opinion.
Once you have clearly defined success for yourself, you may find that the search for success may become easier. Now you're ready for step three.
Step three: Set your goals. Believe it or not, after you have defined success for yourself and what being successful will be for you, you have actually set a goal for yourself. Feel free to go ahead and set a few more. Perhaps conquering and mastering a particular style of playing, or soloing concept. Perhaps a good goal to set would be to do more networking with local musicians...or certain touring musicians. Maybe something smaller like practicing just ten minutes extra every day.
Write down your goals. You cannot imagine how empowering and motivating it can be when you put things down with pen and paper. You can also keep track of your progress. And now...
Step four: Achieve. Now that you have your goals set, it's time to work to achieve them. Do what it takes to accomplish the tasks you have asked of yourself. It won't be easy. In fact, it might actually be very difficult. There will certainly be times you find yourself asking, "Why am I doing this?!?". Stay the course. If you do, your hard work and dedication will pay off and you will be scratching a few of those goals off the list. If you find that your goals just are not getting realized, perhaps you may need to put more effort into accomplishing them; or perhaps you might need to remove them from the list and replace them with something you would rather be dedicated to.
Step five: Be honest with yourself. This is a big one. If you can do this. You can really make some progress towards realizing your goals and accomplishing them. Be honest about what you really want. Be honest about about how much effort and dedication you are willing to put forth to accomplish your goals. If you are not being 100% honest with yourself, you most likely will never accomplish anything to great levels of success, and if you actually do, you most likely won't feel very fulfilled.
It takes dedication, determination, perseverance, and clear and honest intent to become successful at anything. Some times that's all you need. Some times it will never be enough. Some times you will bust your hump with all you have and you might still fail to reach your goals. But there's one more thing you should consider...
Here's my real secret to success...FAITH.
During the toughest of times on my musical journey through life, and especially when I felt that everything in the world was conspiring against me to ensure my failure, I relied on faith to see me through.
That's right folks...the real secret to my success is the will of God. I had faith that He had a plan for me, and that part of that plan was for me to be making music. He blessed me with a gift, and it was my duty to put it to use. I also had faith that He would never give me anything I couldn't handle. I had faith that He would give me strength to change the things I could change, courage to accept those things I couldn't change, and the wisdom to know the difference. It was my faith that helped me persevere through the tough times, and it was my faith that gave thanks and glory to God when times were not so tough.
Yep...God is good. He has blessed me beyond what I feel I deserve. He continues to bless me every day. All that I have is because of Him. And I couldn't be more humbled or grateful.