Ego is a dirty word (usually following “big”) that we all love to throw around when talking about other people but generally refuse to acknowledge the existence of our own. Some are more easily damaged than others but everyone has a threshold that can be burst. Some of the biggest conflicts in music history all revolved around people’s inability to control their own ego and its associated issues. The key is to know yourself and rein in your own silliness so that you can reach your full potential as a musician. Check out these 5 tips:
- Seek new information. Never stop learning.
This is a great way to keep your ego in check. Always seek knowledge from outside sources. Especially with the internet, there is a virtually limitless fountain of information available for the taking if you just reach out and grab it. You can get on YouTube virtually every day and find someone new who probably has the ability to play circles around you. Should that discourage you? No! Let it motivate you to get better and learn because you are special as a musician and you have things that other folks may not have. Just always continue growing!
- Be a team player!
This is a common theme throughout my blog but it deserves another mention here. The more you focus on working well with other folks, the less you focus on yourself. There is nothing wrong with achieving your own objectives (In fact, you should make goals and achieve them!), but in order to be successful within a group context, you need to play nice. Don’t allow yourself to be walked on, but learn how to see things through other people’s eyes. Believe me, it helps!
- Pick which mountain you want to die on.
This is an old phrase but always carries wisdom. You will have scenarios that are not always the greatest or most pleasant. But, you shouldn’t let them ruin you and if you pick the wrong mountain, the results could be more devastating than you thought. I would go so far as to say that most mountains probably aren’t worth dying on. The thing to keep in mind is that any scenario you could possibly run across will possess some lesson that could be useful for your own benefit. It’s all in your perspective.
- Understand that you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t always have your cake and eat it too.
Here is another old phrase that is also closely tied to #3 but it still stands on it’s own. Life is full of give and take, especially in the music industry. Understanding the balance of your own desires and that of reality (and the desires of others) is crucial to controlling your own ego. While the above statement might seem negative, the really cool thing is that most of the scenarios that fall under the “cake” principle force us outside our comfort zone and we have to adapt. That’s where the “shouldn’t” part comes in. If we were never forced outside our comfort zone, then we would never grow. Look at that, it kicks right back to #1: Never stop learning.
- Understand that music is much more satisfying when your ego is in check.
This isn’t so much a tip as it is a fact. You will play better, be happier, be more relaxed, and ultimately be a better person. It takes work and an awful lot of energy to maintain a big ego and is generally accompanied by varying degrees of assholery. But once you let go of the ego, satisfaction and fulfillment can come much easier and you will probably get along with other people a lot more.
Do you have more tips on combating one’s ego? Please share in the comment section!