A newlywed friend came to visit us. We talked a bit about her relationship with her husband, and at some point, she sounded quite desperate. A few months back, her husband got a new job. And now he’s stressed out, leaving her alone with the kids and all the other things that need to get done. On her visit, our friend asked us how we handle things.
My wife and I are developing our own unconventional way of life. To achieve great results, we focus on what’s most important for us. Lucky me, we both thrive to improve our lives every day.
(To find out what works for us, we often try many things before we find something that works…)
Because our friend knows how chaotic and unreliable I used to be many years back, she asked how and when this happened. My wife was quick to tell her that it all began with me starting a business. And she’s right. It was the starting point of my self-development and personal growth story. Quite early, I thought about the values I want to pursue in my life. My goal was to keep it stupid simple. Thus, I ended up with focus, responsibility, and giving.
(Say hi, 80/20 principle)
Believe me when I say focusing on one thing at a time was incredibly hard for me. I used to be a do-it-all-yourself-at-the-same-time type of guy. And I know so many people who were or are like that, too. But since I managed to overcome this hurdle, every area in my life is getting better and better and better.
Focus on the right things at the right time – whether you are a part-time or full-time independent musician. You don’t have to be a fancy entrepreneur to develop a progressive and focused mindset. (I’m neither.) Keep it simple and develop the right habits through a selected discipline that allows you to thrive in your “better” future.
A selective discipline is great. Because it means that you don’t have to be a thoroughly disciplined person. Have the discipline to focus on the single most important right habit. That’s it – selective discipline.
By focusing on one habit at a time, you set yourself up for success. Success is sequential, not omnidirectional. Focus on more than one thing and you get distracted in no time. Thus, you’re forced to spend disproportionate amounts of time and energy on things that can be done in much less time. And, most likely, this chaotic behavior overwhelms you so that you quit before even seeing the big results.
How long you focus on the discipline to turn the single most important habit into a daily routine depends 100% on you. Perhaps you need 50 days for something your best friend would need 110 days for, but another musician would only need 20 days. This doesn’t matter. What matters though is that you build this very habit in the end.
(By the way, a 2009 UCL study discovered that the average duration to reach 95% of the results counts 66 days, with a total range from 18 to 254 days.)
So much about the theory. Let’s turn it into practice. If you want to change your life for the better, start focusing on your single most important habit today.
I’ve outlined five steps that you can follow.
- Forget what you heard about 3-4 week time-frames from so-called life coaches or self-help gurus. Science proved them wrong, again.
- Read your musician’s vision statement. (Where do you want to be in X years?) Write down all the necessary bits and pieces you need to develop to achieve your dream.
- Narrow down the list (80/20, again and again) until you have found the single most important habit to develop right now.
- Focus on this habit as long as it takes. Do not focus on anything else – even if it takes more than a year. It’s okay to fail. Stay honest to yourself, or no one will.
- Repeat steps 2-4 once you’ve turned your first habit into an automated routine.
Becoming the independent musician you want to be is all about big-picture thinking and consistent small steps. I hope that this brings you one small step further in your music career.