Musicians can be the targets of a LOT of harsh words.
It sucks when coming from strangers. But it cuts EXTRA deep when they come from “supposed” friends.Does any of this sound familiar to you?
“Are you enjoying your hobby?”
“Honestly, I think your band sucks and I’d rather be dead than caught on a stage with you.”
“You’ll never make money doing that. When are you going to get a REAL job?”
“You’re just a singer. Not a REAL musician. Besides, you’re only a woman so you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You can’t fill a phone both with people that want to hear YOUR music!”
“You’re a musician, right? Can I get some weed from you?”
“Where are you playing next? So I can NOT be there.”
“Your music sucks!”
“You look like Muhammed Ali’s retarded cousin when you rap!”
“Gosh you’re so talented! Why don’t you put on some makeup, you know, fix yourself up a little, lose some weight and do some songs people actually know?”
Or one of my personal favs:
“Dude! If I hear another self-promotion about your crappy band I’m gonna mess you up! Yes, I watched your videos and you can’t sing worth crap! You give Utah a bad name and image, the only reason you’re ranked on ReverbNation is because ALL YOU DO is sit home and are an internet slut, do you play anywhere besides Fats?? Mishell is too nice to say no. I am going to message every musician in town and let them know you’re a fraud and if it weren’t for the internet you’d be unheard of! Every time I log in I get slammed by 10,000 of your posts! SHUT THE HECK UP BEFORE I POST PUBLIC HOW CRAPPY YOU REALLY ARE STICK TO ART YOU TONE DEF FRAUD!”
My standard, practical advice normally consists of “Haters are a sign of success” and, “That’s the beauty of the internet, you can block those people”.
But the other night, during office hours for the Musicpreneur Apprentice Program we dove a bit deeper and I shared some advice that I’m sure you could use as well.
It comes from a book I recommend called “The Four Agreements” (by Don Miguel Ruiz). It’s a practical guide to personal freedom and inner peace, based on Ancient Toltec Wisdom.
There are 4 agreements you can make that will give you immunity to such cutting remarks. Fortunately, you make these agreements with yourself, so there ARE within reach:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and action of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama, With just this one agreement you can completely transform your life.
Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to when you are sick. Just as you are more capable at 8pm before soundcheck than you are at 8am the morning after a show. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
Of course I, myself, have not yet perfected these agreements. But anytime I feel down, I review them to see if I am breaking one of them. It always turns out that I am. I now have the tools to undo the damage that is done to my psyche by harsh words from others, AND from myself. And I want YOU to have these tools at your disposal as well 😉
Can YOU make these agreements with yourself? I believe that you can!
For more wisdom, advice and inspiration for independent musicians, subscribe to my email list here.
And if you know any musicians that have been on the receiving end of such harsh words, which by my calculation would be EVERY musician you know, please share this with them.
Carlos Castillo is a Musicpreneur, Artist Business Developer, International Road-Tripper, Lap Steel Player, and Captain of the Schwilly Family Musicians. Find him at SchwillyFamilyMusicians.Com, or on Twitter at @CaptainSchwilly.
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