"The power of negative thinking: why our local music scene sucks (and other myths that keep you from succeeding with your music)"

This Article Originally Published in 1994

by Bob Baker

The best way to start discussing this month's success topic is to relate something that happened recently. A couple months ago my employees and I moved our business into a bigger office space. Along with the move we needed more phone lines and a new telephone system. A phone company rep came by the office to pitch what she had to offer.

During the conversation, of course, I let her know that we publish the Spotlight newspaper, a music monthly in St. Louis, Mo. Unfortunately for her, she was not overly familiar with it. So I gave her a bit of background on what we do and sent her off with a couple copies to take home. About a week later she called again to follow up and mentioned something I've heard many times over the years.

"You know, since I met you and learned more about Spotlight, I've seen the paper all over the place," she admitted. "I guess since I wasn't that aware of it before, I never noticed it sitting at all those locations."

This sales rep was guilty of a trait that's common among human beings: being limited in her view of the world by what she chooses to focus on. But it's no crime. These limited perceptions are always with us.

Have you ever bought a new car and then suddenly started seeing the same make and model almost everywhere you went? What caused that? Was there a sudden swell in sales of your type of car? Had you unknowingly started a fashion trend? Not likely. It was just that you had a new awareness of that particular car style and your mind was able to zero in on those shapes and sizes.

Well, I contend that if your mind works that way with newspapers, cars, shapes and sizes, it also works that way with attitudes and ideas. Your mind does indeed seek out what you focus on.

Therefore, if you're one of those doom-and-gloom people who consistently tells yourself and others how much your local music scene sucks, I guarantee you'll see one example after another to support your limited (and limiting) belief. Every time a club owner doesn't hire your band, a radio disc jockey doesn't play your record or a music editor doesn't assign a writer to cover you, you'll say, "See, what did I tell you? This town blows! Nobody cares, there are no opportunities here. Why bother?"

So what's the solution?

Optimism. Pure and simple, developing a positive attitude and sense of optimism will do more for your musical career advancement then the most expensive piece of new equipment or the most powerful industry bigshot could do in a lifetime.

So stop whining and start considering these ideas to help you stretch and build your optimism muscles.