Here’s my top 10 reasons why information is more likely to lead you to procrastination and confusion than it is to lead you to a solution, unless it’s done correctly. Whether you’re watching YouTube videos, going to music forums, podcasts, or reading blogs like this one. If you’re not putting it to proper use, then it’s probably more likely a form of procrastination.
Number one: There’s nothing challenging at all about seeking information. The challenge is your art and you’re running up against these points where you want to stop, or you feel confused because it’s hard work. It actually takes real thinking to create, right? So often times what we do is we search out information as a crutch or as a way to avoid doing what we really should be doing.
Number two: You’re always going to choose input over output if given the choice. So input is anything comes from outside yourself versus what you’re putting out into the world, which would be considered output. You need to really keep an eye on whether you’re in an input mode or an output mode, because it’s very easy to start by trying to do output work and just hitting a mental block right up front, and immediately feeling that your solution is to go hunt down videos and hunt down information to supposedly solve the problem that you’re running into. That rarely works because usually what’s happening is you’re looking for a way out from the fear of creating when you run up against challenges.
Number three: Information is addictive, even if it’s not relevant. That’s why we may start with good intentions when searching for information, but end up in a whole other area of the internet down some weird rabbit hole that has nothing to do with your music. It’s just because information releases that “feel good” chemical. So, because you’re getting stuck with your music, you go out and try to collect information makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something. It temporarily makes you feel smarter, wiser, and more capable of creating better music. Most of the time, that’s just not the case.
Number four: Information that’s not immediately put to use is not going to be retained. At the time that you need it in the future, you’re not going to have it at easy access. It’s kind of like reading an encyclopedia from A to Z before you even know whether you need the information or not. Then you try to recall the information you need, realizing that you just have no access to that information, right? You end up having to just go back and search for that one thing that you’re looking for again. There’s just no way you can keep and retain all that information, especially if you don’t put it to immediate use.
Number five: Collecting information can make you a lazy problem-solver. In other words, you’re always going to seek outside yourself instead of trying to find your own solutions. The brain doesn’t really like to do a lot of thinking work. It likes to be in automatic mode doing the things that it did yesterday and the day before.
That’s why anytime you’re trying to create a new habit, you run against so much resistance. It’s because the brain doesn’t really want change. It comes from an evolutionary need to protect you,,even though it’s not necessary now.
So it’s really important to recognize when you get stuck in this sort of trap. Otherwise, you’re going to end up in another information rabbit hole. It makes you feel smart. You might even be able to answer a lot of questions for other people on forums and feel really good about that. When it comes to your own music though, you’re not finishing much of it.
Number six: Sometimes the information you’re seeking isn’t even necessary. In other words, you didn’t even run up against the problem yet. You dive into tutorials in anticipation of a problem that hasn’t yet come up. So you’re going to the information first, instead of actually pushing yourself, as far as you can, with your music production. It’s only when you run into a block that you’ve actually attempted to solve, that you should seek outside information. If you don’t develop your own solutions to your challenges then you’re always solving the problems the exact same way as everyone else. In doing this you lose originality to the way you approach music making. Those differences are the things that can really make you unique.
Number seven: You’re only going to recognize your own blind spots in music production, by actually bumping up against them in the process of doing your work and attempting to solve your own problems. If you’re always using information as a crutch, you may not even be running into your real problems. In other words, there may be aspects to your music production that seemed like the problem, but really is only the symptoms of a greater underlying problem.
Maybe some of the things you do early on with your music production actually leads to a bigger mountain of problems later on in your song. You’re missing the foundation of what is causing this in the first place. So you want to keep an eye out for real blind spots instead of ones that you’re imagining.
Number eight: You rarely stop when you get the information you need. Usually you keep on going and diving into more and more information, instead of just taking the information you’ve got and putting it into practical use right away. This is almost always going to lead you to information overwhelm, while at the same time give you a false sense of competence. Then we try to put it into practical use, you’re going to run up against the same sort of roadblocks over & over.
Number nine: If information where the solution, you’d already be at the top of your game. If information alone was all you needed, there’s a wealth of it out there that would have led to your success already. So you really have to take a look at where you’re at right now, how much information you’ve devoured and where it has gotten you. It will be easy to see that there’s a missing link somewhere in here that you just not getting.
Number ten:, The more you’re consuming information, the less you’re actually creating. I would recommend that you put 80% of your time into actually working on your music and trying to solve your own problems & only 20% of the time at most actually looking for solutions to things that you keep running up against. That’s a legitimate way to use information. What I would also recommend is to set a timer for 15 minutes to come up with a solution. Otherwise what will happen is you’ll get lazy and you’ll just watch and watch and watch and collect and collect and collect. Sadly you’ll realize that you actually have to watch all that information over again just to get the nuggets that you really need. That’s the cost of information not immediately put it into practice.
A Chess analogy
As a way to further illustrate this, I’ve been playing chess most of my life, but I’m not very good. What I’ll often do is watch games of the grandmasters. I watch all the smart moves they make. Sometimes I’ll think “yeah, I would’ve made that move too”. So I feel all confident from watching these tournaments and then I’ll go on with chess app to play the computer and I’ll get my ass handed to me over and over and over again. It’s just a reminder that collecting all this information and watching and watching and watching, isn’t really the thing that’s going to get me further. So I have to recognize that I’m mainly just watching for entertainment.
The things that I’m picking up are 99% of the time, not even going to be applicable to the games that I’m playing. Once I see a different move that I haven’t seen before, it’s all lost for me. You can’t win a chess match just by memorizing the moves of others because every game has its own subtleties, just like music making.
I hope this gives you a little bit of insight on the way that your brain works and I hope that it helps you to stop the bad habits and get into the more positive music making habits.
if you’d like this sort the content, make sure to share it with your producer friends. You can read my best selling book, The mental game of electronic music production for free, by going to musicsoftwaretraining.com/thementalgame. You’ll also get my song recovery kit and my 101 Ableton tips video totally free.
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Happy music making!