This post is part of The Renegade Musician Series.

Most musicians refuse to invest in themselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Charlatans and shills exist in every niche, and the music industry has had a long tradition of artist exploitation. You shouldn’t trust everyone you come across. If anything, your mistrust is well-earned.

But in the personal development field, there are multiple experts with a proven track record – Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, Wayne Dyer, and many others. It’s a buffet, and you’re welcome to whatever whets your appetite, but you can find millions of people who’ve been helped by the former.

You don’t need to buy into everything they say, let alone hang on their every word like they were imparting a rare word from God himself. A Renegade Musician has the capacity to think for themselves.

As KISS’ Gene Simmons said in his book Sex Money Kiss, if you think for yourself, you might not make more friends, but you will make more money. I wholeheartedly agree.

More importantly, if you aren’t actively listening to positive voices, by default, you’re leaving space for negative ones.

If you aren’t actively listening to positive voices, by default, you’re leaving space for negative ones. Click To Tweet

The world is overwhelmingly negative. Most of Netflix and YouTube are negative. The news is negative. Politics are negative. Even your friends and family, in a certain light, are negative. I’m not dishing on any of them. But accurate thinking dictates that 95% of people are negative.

Human beings weren’t designed to handle this level of negativity! We need a big dose of positive to outweigh the negative, and the world isn’t set up to ensure these needs are met.

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman wrote an article titled The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio in the Harvard Business Review and found that the ideal ratio is five to one. Five positive comments for every negative comment. That’s what we require, at minimum, to stay positive. Good luck finding that on the news.

Personal development never struck me as important until I started interviewing people like Tommy Tallarico (North America’s most prolific video game composer) and Derek Sivers (CD Baby founder).

Talking with them, I realized they had an undying enthusiasm for life. They woke up early and stayed up late to engage in their passions. They were committed to learning and growing. They were eager to share their knowledge with others.

Most of the superstars you see on TV didn’t get there by accident. Many were part of feeder programs. Some already had an “in” with the elite class. That, combined with a strong work ethic and the willingness to shake off failure led them to where they are today. But it’s the rare artist that slips through the cracks and makes it on talent alone. You’ve got to have an eager, enthusiastic fan base, even if it isn’t huge. Only then will the decision makers and gatekeepers turn to look your way.

If you don’t have a strong mindset, you will want to give up, and you probably will.

Self-help is not B.S. It’s preparation for your eventual success. It’s understanding that there is a field full of landmines, and the only way you can correctly navigate them is by investing in yourself – learning how to overcome obstacles and challenges.

There is a field full of landmines, and the only way you can correctly navigate them is by investing in yourself Click To Tweet

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