Take the Test
by Tom Hess
If you consider yourself to be pessimistic person, do yourself a favor, - don’t waste your time reading another word.
In my Music Careers Mentoring Program, I ask my students (those I mentor) to take a very special test in one of the first few sessions. It’s an eye-opening experience for everyone who goes through this (I’ll share this valuable test with you in a few moments).
Before my own professional music career began I had been spinning my wheels for years, unaware of why I was not yet a pro, even though my guitar playing and composition skills were already highly developed. There was something missing that had prevented me from getting the big success I was after. The biggest problem was that I wasn’t even aware of what was missing. Years passed and a great mentor came into my life who told me, “Reasons come first, answers come second”. This one statement had a profound impact on me as I began to develop my career. It became clear what it was I needed to do (get clear and conscious about the real reasons behind what it was I wanted). Prior to that revelation I was basically clueless about “how” I would ever develop and sustain a great career in the music industry as a recording artist and internationally touring guitarist. Once I had clarity of purpose, I was able to move toward my goals much more effectively.
On the surface, it may seem too simple or too obvious how one can define one’s purpose and reasons behind an ultimate goal. I assure you it is not as simple as it seems (as I will show you soon). I asked and answered a series of questions for myself, which eventually led me to the “true” path of success. 95% of my goal has been realized and I continue to work towards the attainment of the remaining 5%. With this new insight, I began to turn my attention towards my music students (especially towards the career-minded musicians I mentor) and am happy to say the results have been great for them and very rewarding for me.
All right, so if you have read this far I’ll assume you are still with me, optimistic and open minded. Please get a piece of paper and something to write with. (Do NOT try to take this test in your head). You will get a lot more out of this, if you can see your answers written on paper.
If all of this seems confusing to you, here is an example to illustrate how this works. Let’s say your biggest goal is to be wealthy. Following the steps above, it may have looked something like this:
You can see in this case, what this person desires more than anything else is to spend more quality time with people he/she cares about most. The wealth (money) was simply the vehicle (method) that this person chose to use, but the heart of the matter is time, not money. And the real obstacle isn’t a lack of money or time, it was a perceived lack of freedom to spend more time with people without making big sacrifices to do so.
Although becoming wealthy is a perfectly good vehicle (method) to use, it may not be the most effective vehicle for all people. Perhaps there are better, easier and faster ways to reach the true goal of spending more time with people. And perhaps a perceived lack of freedom is not the real obstacle at all. There are many other possibilities that may be more valid reasons for why this person has not reached the true goal yet.
If you have separate goals related to music such as pursuing a career in music, go through the same list of questions again and really dig down deep to find out what it REALLY is that you want. You should discover that your ultimate final answers are deep human emotional needs, not external material things. Getting these needs met may have nothing to do with music and in fact you might be able to get your real needs met by doing something else outside of music all together.
Now look back at your original answers when you took the test and consider your present situation. Consider these four things.
Take the time: I cannot overemphasize the point enough to really dig deep, so take your time and don’t rush through this assignment, because doing so may literally save you a lifetime of regret. In the corporate world, it’s common to hear stories of highly successful business men and women, who sacrifice many things in life to climb the corporate ladder. After many years, they reach the top and finally are able to see the view of things with a broader perspective of their efforts and all that they have worked so hard for. The tragedy for some is that the ladder they climbed was leaning against the wrong wall and it is only in the end of their career (or life) that they finally realize it with great regret.
That is part of the reason why I have my music careers students go through this test. It is designed to allow some people to discover for themselves that maybe a music career is not really what they need or want in life. It is such an eye opening experience for them since 5 minutes before going through this process, they thought they were sure they wanted a music career. So obviously those people should not go any further in the pursuit of a career in music and instead should change paths toward what really matters in their life. It would be a shame to climb the wrong ladder.
...However, for those that do discover that a music career really is for them, new possibilities, opportunities and powers are born and strengthened from their own clarity of purpose and certainty of destiny. Because of this, their chances of success go up 10,000%!
Go far beyond your music: Putting music aside for a few moments, I have one final request. Consider ALL aspects of your life: your relationships with your family, friends, teachers (if you are a student), your employer (if you work), career goals, personal goals, your creator (if you are spiritual or religious) etc.
I wish you the best.......really.
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