So… I know a few things, but only kind of.
Broadly, though, I don’t have a god damn clue what I’m doing – on stage, at work, booking shows, teaching lessons, simply existing as a human being… It’s a work in progress at every single point, and likely always will be.
The good news is, depsite what anyone may tell you, it’s that way for everyone.
Total confidence is a spectre, and vague notion on the wind – and we should all embrace that.
Almost every day, I experience unfamiliarity, but with the right approach, it’s an adventure – a chance to refine what little information I have into something a little more actionable – or in some cases, the barely-informed actions present bits of wisdom I can add to my growing (but forever incomplete) body of knowledge.
This whole thing hinges on the idea of a “growth mindset” – Carol Dweck’s brilliant definition of the way we may look at the world. If we embrace the idea of potential growth, then everything we do is a step toward a somehow “improved” (or at the very least, different) future.
I didn’t really know anything about participating in a jam (let alone directing one) until I’d done it damn near hundreds of times. I didn’t know anything about SEO or blog formatting until I’d worked for LongerDays, and acted “as if” for years, making dozens of mistakes and missteps as I got my bearings.
I don’t know really how to book a tour, negotiate contracts, promote albums… I don’t know how to play solos, modulate triplets, permutate linear ideas… I barely fucking know how to count the band in with a strong sense of time…
I’m an absolute novice when it comes to publishing, understanding copyright, making informed choices about how to credit musicians when I upload music to various platforms…
But as I encounter each of these scenarios (and plenty of others), I make just a little bit of headway. I know these things are possible, that the information is available, and that makes all the difference… I just have to figure it out
I don’t really know what I’m doing, but the only way to fix that is to do it anyway.
There will be mistakes and missteps, some more catastrophic than others, and those experiences will have their lessons too. There will be good and bad information from sources online and in person… Navigating that is part of the challenge. So is figuring out when to act on limited information, and when to keep studying before making a move (another thing to learn in itself).
Anyone who knows something you don’t had to learn it somewhere. Chances are, if they were being candid, they could describe a myriad of things they don’t know about or haven’t quite mastered.
We’re all in the same boat here… Just figuring things out as we go.
Nobody truly knows everything, we just gradually gain experience and expertise as we go. It’s a process – it always has been – and the defining characteristic is stumbling through the unknowns until they become knowns.
I’m trying to worry less about what I don’t know or can’t do, and embracing the ongoing journey – no, adventure – of figuring it out as I go. I hope you’re willing to do the same. It’s the only way.