Why You Should Make Terrible Music

Yes, I’m saying we musicians should make crappy music.

Let me explain.

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Hang Out With Musicians Who Are Better Than You

Yes, there are musicians who are better than you, I don’t care who you are.

photo via Daily Beast

Mariah Carey would probably say there are better singers than her.

Jimi Hendrix probably thought there were better guitarists than him.

John Bonham surely respected other drummers and tried to learn from them.

So can you. And so can I.

For the past year or so, I’ve been making music with friends who are way better than me at their instruments. They make me want to get better.

And that’s what I need — a drive to become a better musician.

I don’t want to be complacent. It’s easy to get too comfortable with my skill level.

It’s like the gap that Ira Glass talks about — the gap between where we are and where we want to be. And how that gap makes us get better.

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions,” Glass says. “…It’s going to take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

So for your own good, hang out with musicians who are better than you.

If you’re looking to keep your creative gene working, check out Austin Kleon’s little book Steal Like An Artist. It’s one of my favorites. I’ve read it like a dozen times.

This Is What Happens When You Hate Musicians Who Are Better Than You

Have you ever heard someone say, “I started hating this person and, man, it’s making my life so much better!”?

Don't Hate Musicians Who Are Better Than You

If you have, you’re probably friends with a sociopath.

If you haven’t, you’re like the rest of us.

There’s a good reason you don’t hear musicians (or people in general) talk like this — because hate and jealousy never lead to anything good.

It’s easy to be jealous of another musician who’s more successful than you, or better at songwriting, playing their instrument, or whatever.

But don’t give in to that jealousy — it will wreak havoc on your musical career (and possibly your soul).

And by jealousy, I don’t mean a healthy acknowledgment of the gap between you and another musician (or where you want to be).

I mean hateful jealousy. Wanting what another musician has.

So here are two things that will probably happen if you hate other musicians who are better than you.

You’ll be miserable

If you’re consumed with jealousy, you’ll be void of happiness.

You’ll see all the skills that you don’t have. You’ll be frustrated that you lack something.

Tell me how jealousy benefits your happiness at all.

Your music career will suffer

Because you’ll be focused on another musician, you may forget about yourself and your music.

Don’t try to be another musician. Focus on what kind of musician you want to be.

Put on those blinders and get to work on yourself and your craft.

Stay motivated, manage your time, and move toward your picture of success — grab the One-Thing-A-Day chart for FREE…


The Gap

My writing stinks – stinks like garbage sometimes. I’m embarrassed by it.

It’s like when I started playing the guitar — I was really bad. I could see where I wanted to be, what I wanted to be playing. And where I wasn’t was more visible than where I was.

I knew that if I kept playing chords and songs that I would inch my way toward my goal of playing like Nick Drake or Kings of Convenience. And in the same way, I know that if I keep writing, even small amounts every day, I’ll get better. I’ll need to endure the writing calluses.

RELATED: 4 Tools To Help You Learn Guitar

This is the gap, the void between where I want my work to be and where it actually is. But this gap is good, it’s great. It gives a reason for improvement. If there’s no gap, there’s no need to find a way to cross it.

I think the closer I get to the other side — where I want my work to be — the more it will evade me. Because my goals will keep changing and getting bigger and harder to achieve.

It’s an unattainable goal.

This is how people get better at their craft – by having giant expectations of their work and trying to make their work meet those expectations.

RELATED: Why It’s Important To Learn Something New On A Regular Basis

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s going to take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass