One of the worst things you can do in life is sell yourself short and settle. If I look around at the music industry, I see people do this all day long. Most are so desperate and hungry for any sort of success or financial gain that they will chase and copy anyone else who "appears" to be making a living.
I get this!
I was so hungry for much of my early years for any sort of progress that crumbs looked like feasts.
I️ was settling.
The main thing I observe with people that settle is that they are limiting what they can really do. If you apply and copy what everyone else is doing in hopes of fitting in, you cut the legs out from yourself in that you never really allow space for creativity, to figure out your sound, your thing, what makes you marketable and what makes people come to you.
When I run into a problem, I explore, I try, I tweak, I manipulate and exhaust everything I can before I look for a quick solution. I enjoy the process, the journey of learning and I solve problems in a way that reflects me. This then allows me not to look like everyone else and sound like everyone else. This is how you don’t settle in life and in business. You put in the time and work.
When you constantly apply everything you see on a three minute youtube video you are killing your own creativity. You are training yourself, just like you did in school to regurgitate things. We often get pushed to the outside when we go against what everyone else is doing, but this is the heart of art. You have to always be expanding your wisdom and knowledge and who you are. Don't settle to look like ever other mix engineer out there. We need you to be you.
Another thing that comes with settling, is that feeling you get when you know you didn't do the work. There is no confidence or foundation at the end of the day when you don't really know how something works and how that applies to you. For years I pulled up presets as starting points, but overtime those became "my sound".
I could imitate people but I felt unfulfilled. My stuff sounded like other professionals, but I found myself always unsatisfied because I knew I had just copied someone else. I had settled.
I eventually stopped using presets, I pulled out the manuals, and began playing with things. This created such depth and such a firm foundation that has allowed me to know how to troubleshoot situations, solve issues, and create my own sound. If you don't put in the the foundational work you will always be on the defense when people ask questions or challenge your work.
The last thing that should matter to most and took me years to grasp is genuinely caring about people and caring about what you will leave behind when you're gone. When you are dead, will people see you as "you" or as someone who looked and sounded like everyone else. There's so much documentation of people lying on their death bed with regret because they never put in the work, never fought for who they wanted to be, never gave the world their art, their sound, their words, their story.
You can find joy in the process and in learning and not selling yourself short or you can chase someone else's dreams and ideas on how you should do something. We do not live in a one size fits all world. We are all unique and we need everyone to create and live a life and leave a legacy that reflects that. I want to encourage everyone to not sell yourself short.
Don't settle. You're worth so much and we need you to be you.