Okay, not quite.

I played basketball tonight for the first time in years. So glad we only played half-court. Full-court would’ve killed me.

I’m out of shape. My feet are killing me, and I had a blast. 🙂

The thing about basketball is it doesn’t take a ton of skill to play poorly. I played in high school (all-conference, baby), but I’m not (I repeat NOT) all that great. I’m a mediocre player at best.

Here’s the fun part. If I get in better shape, and if I play regularly, I could be a much better player than I am today.

Guess what, pumpkin? Same thing is true for working on music and audio.

We all have a baseline level of talent. Some have more than others. LeBron James will always be a better basketball player than me, even if he gets fat and out of shape and I work my butt off for 18 hours a day for the next 10 years.

Right?

I can improve on my own abilities. I can maximize my potential, but I also can’t really exceed that potential.

It’s important for us as we strive to create better music to be honest about who we are and what we can achieve.

Let’s go back to basketball. (Holy moley do my feet hurt, by the way. I don’t remember this happening in high school.) Let’s say I decide to do everything within my power to become an amazing basketball player. I hire a private coach and train night and day.

Are you with me?

Now, let’s say I obsessively compare myself to LeBron James. I want to beat him, to be better than him. Do you think I’d have any chance in hades of achieving my goal? Of course not.

Here’s another scenario, let’s say I have a deep passion to become the best basketball player I can. I work hard, track my progress, and fight to become better this year than last.

Guess what? If my goal is to compete with myself, I have a very good chance of winning. If I compete with LaBron, I won’t win.

Think about how you approach your music and your studio. Are you always comparing your latest mix to someone else’s? Are you bummed that your song doesn’t sound like the songs you here on the radio?

You’re not making a fair comparison. I’m not saying you’re bad at this. But if you’re not where you want to be, you need to stop comparing and start competing with yourself.

Start right now.

Open iTunes and l the listen to the very first song you ever recorded. Now pull up the latest song you produced and take a listen. I have a sneaky suspicion the latest one is WAY better than the first.

Let that sink in.

You can’t become Chis Lord Alge overnight. But you CAN become a better version of YOU by this time next week. Just lather, rinse, and repeat.

It’s a MUCH more fulfilling game. I promise.

Joe Gilder
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