Thursday, February 19, 2009

Victimizing ourselves

How often do we cheat ourselves out of greatness?

That is a question that bears repeating as we walk through our days. And more importantly, how do we cheat ourselves?

Here's a few ways that I do, and that I've seen.

1. Lack of confidence. It's important to believe in our sound, and ourselves...or at least pretend to. To quote my favorite bat biter, Ozzy Osbourne himself - You've got to believe in yourself, or no one will believe in you. ("Believer", off "Diary of a Madman.")

2. Lack of discipline. For me, discipline builds confidence. If I've taken the time to play an arpeggio five hundred times, well, I know I'm pretty good at it. Moreover, I know I'm capable of sitting down and enduring that, so that gives me an extra "superman" edge.

But the biggest one that I see in music, but more commonly in life, is the one of Victimization.

If you catch yourself saying "Oh, I really wish I could do that, but there's no way a loser like me will ever be able to achieve greatness" or "I hate Jeff Beck because his tone is so much better, and will always be better, than mine" you could be showing the classic signs of the victim.

I'm a little over my head in psychology terms here, but I'd assert that, for our purposes, the victim refuses to take responsibility for the current situation.

Now, if you're the victim of a murder, you'd probably refuse to take responsibility, because well, you'd be dead. Ha ha! If someone beats you, well, that's not your fault (unless you really had it coming.)

But, I'm talking about the dangerous, subtle type of victim. The type that says "Well, my band can't get a record deal, because the drummer is always late."

That's refusing to accept responsibility for the situation. You need to either fire the drummer, or make sure he shows up. Take it on yourself.

How about "well, I just can't sing. I'm tone deaf." Then train your ear!

The one that I get all the time is "Oh, I'd never be able to play guitar. I'm not coordinated enough." Have you ever seen me try to throw something?

The point is - take full responsibility for your actions, and more importantly, situation. If you don't want to get a record deal, don't blame the drummer! Just say "well, I'd rather not!"

If you don't want to play guitar, just tell yourself "I'd rather not!"

Here's a good rule of thumb: Could you tell your excuse to Mr. T and live?

Excuses absolve us of accountability. While it really stinks sometimes to always be in charge of our lives, in charge we are, and that's the absolute fact, regardless of if we like it or not.

It's easy to blame a bad economy for your slow business, or stupid bandmates for lack of success. There's someone to complain to then.

But when you're breathing your last hundred breaths, remember this: The Reaper doesn't have a complaint department.

So man up, and if you want to play like Steve Vai, just do it! If you want to sell out the Verizon Center, make it happen!

Don't be a victim.


JoyZAChoice said...

BRAVO! Well spoken, Josh. {you probably don't know who I am..but your Mom is a friend...& I found your link on her blog today.) I'm a huge fan of hers...and all her sons.
Thanks for this reminder. Lots of folks don't take responsibility...cuz it's just easier. Too bad for them, huh?
Rock on, Josh. Hugs & giggles~

Anonymous said...

Another fantastic blog!
So true. Our nation is full of "VICTIMS", own up to your actions.

Anonymous said...

Great, now I HAVE to learn to play better than Stevie Ray. :-P

Great article man!

Definitely gonna be following this.