Improving music results by getting out of your own way
Whether it be music or another aspect of your life, at some point you’ve probably had someone respond to one of your concerns by suggesting that you just “get out of your own way” & everything will work out. Great advice right? Well, unfortunately, in most cases, neither the one delivering the message or receiving it really understand what the hell that even means.
“How am I supposed to get out of my own way? “
“This all sounds fine and dandy as some fancy statement to throw around, but how would I even apply this in practical terms?”
I’m glad you asked.
In truth, getting out of your own way is something you do quite a bit already and it helps much of your life flow far more easily. It makes very complex things we do effortless, but if we get in the way of these effortless actions, you will find the most simple things far more difficult.
To get deeper into this it’s important that you look at what is going on in your mind and body when you are stressed or nervous vs. when you are relaxed and in the flow.
Can you describe the differences mentally & physically between the 2? Do you feel this gets you any closer to understanding what it means to get out of your own way?
Let me drop you another hint with the following example:
Notice how naturally you act & how relaxed you are when you are around your close friends. You walk, talk & breath freely & you are focused on the moment & only concerned with the good time you’re having. The night flows without a hitch & your body and mind don’t let you down.
Now let’s put you in front of a pretty girl that you would really like to get to know (reverse this scenario if you are a straight female). What happens? You’re thinking about what to do with your hands, making sure to keep eye contact but not to stare hoping to hell she didn’t catch you looking at her breasts. You try to speak but your mouth and voice seem to fail you. You stutter & fumble your words. You concentrate on if you are holding your self confidently & relaxed. Your hands are sweaty, and basically, this first impression is a crash & burn..
What exactly was happening? Why did the simple things suddenly become so complex?
You were talking to yourself, judging every body movement, second guessing. This inner voice is making you so aware of every sensation you are experiencing & every potential way you can do things incorrectly, that suddenly doing things the correct way feels like a 1 in a million long shot.
Does this sounds familiar in other areas of your life? Music perhaps? I thought so.
See, the problem is, we rely on the opinions of this inner voice at the absolute worst times to seek it’s guidance. You didn’t need guidance with your night out with your friends & that went fantastic. Your creative ventures need to become more like a night out with buddies instead of an awkward night with a person you are trying to impress.
Yoda was right, there is no try.
If you want to better apply this skill (and yes, it is a skill) of getting out of your own way, you need to stop over preparing for genius & just have fun. I promise, your most inspired performances are going to happen when you aren’t even trying. Sure, there will be a time and place to look at what you created objectively, but you will always need to distinguish the voice that pushes you forward, & the one that holds you back from your potential.
Imagine if the solution to entering the genius level of music creation was simply your ability to ignore the noise of the mind & instead create for reasons beyond explanation. Imagine that all the tools you need are already in your hands and that magic doesn’t come from the instrument, but from you. Your ability to look around at the tools you already have & have fun with them, is where the magic in you will start to be released.
Exploring new tools should never come from the thought process that you don’t have enough already but from a “this looks like something fun to explore”. If you aren’t using what you already have to satisfy your obsession to create, you aren’t being an artist. This is what sets us apart as artists & it’s the key to unlocking your potential.
Stop searching & second guessing. Start trusting & believing. Genius will soon follow.
Happy music making,