Success! Success! Everybody wants it. There are 8 billion individuals on this planet and I could swear at least half would entertain the idea of having some form of success.
Ever seen those get-rich-quick promos? Ever seen what they advertise? They seemingly promote success as “the good life”. You know, that yacht, that Lambo, the big house with the modern age “white picket fence”. It’s all there right? That’s success isn’t it? And I could do it by just glibly sitting around and pressing a few buttons!! Ha! Huzzah! “I’ve got it”, you say. “I’m going to be super successful and I barely need to lift a finger!” I’ve tried this route. I soon realized that without one key ingredient, all these promises of success could not come true. It’s not that the systems don’t work, nor that it’s even a scam. There is one factor that acts like a snake charmer; it makes you think you’re in control even when you’re not.
That factor is ignorance. Ignorance is not blissful. It’s as blissful as that snake in a ceramic pot carried by man and stored in some god-forsaken shed. It’s also the magical, secret, fruit-flavoured potion to failure. And that is a main problem in any industry whether business or arts or weather forecasting: lack of knowledge about a subject.
Your first mistake in your career is assuming you already know everything there is to know about your subject. With that thought stickered to your forehead, don’t expect to acquire any new knowledge about your field. And in a rapid changing world, that spells “short-term career if any” all over you. The first step to success is realising you don’t know everything there is to know about it.
The second step is getting down and dirty, pulling those sleeves up and getting that elbow grease going. There is no replacement for practice. None. Once you have acquired knowledge about a particular subject, you need to practice it. With knowledge, one can develop control.
With these two things in mind, you’ve got the smartest trick to success: competence. Competence is the ability to do something skilfully, successfully and efficiently. Lack of it makes you replaceable. It makes you ignorant, unsafe and unhappy. Here is where most fail. There is a moment in one’s career where he or she must jump to the next level. How many never do? Tons of people have success in arms reach. It’s smiling at them with a stack of cash, a Cuban cigar and a boost in self-esteem. Why can’t they reach for it? You can’t romantically hold hands with success if you’re not competent at what you do. Its not that she’s playing hard-to-get, you’re just not good enough for her, you feel? You can eventually get the chance to take her out, but you have to know your stuff and be good at it.
It’s just as true as in the music industry. If you’re not good, you’re not good. You just need to learn more and put in the time to get yourself competent. If you are good, find how you can be better. There is no end to learning. Songs don’t write themselves. They are materialized by individuals who have burnt the midnight pencil countless times to get where they are today.
Competence is the key to your success. Don’t treat it badly.
A & R at Father & Son Records