Instinct and Ego

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Instinct and Ego

We’re proud to feature the second in a series of articles taken from Brian Allen’s “Winning The Music Game”.

Great instincts are often very obvious qualities of successful decision makers, and there are myriads of career-critical decisions to be made on the road to success. People with well-developed instinct just seem to know what works, how and why it works and when it works. They may not always be able to articulate their reasoning, but they are unusually gifted in this regard. The great hockey player Wayne Gretzky was often described as having an uncanny ability to predict where the play was headed, and subsequently position himself to be in the thick of the action exactly when it developed. Instinct is a very difficult skill to impart from one human to another. Many with great instincts are referred to as “naturals”. However, you can hone and improve your instincts by consciously learning from the mistakes and successes that you and your peers make. In reference to the topic of perspective above, much of the same dynamic employed to enhance your perspective can also be used to hone and maximize your instincts. It has been said wisely that if you are not making mistakes you are not taking on enough challenges. In order to learn, the first acknowledgement you must make to yourself is that you have the need and desire to learn and the willingness to accept failure.

EGO: It’s the gas in your tank – you need it to have the courage and drive to be in this business. This business swallows people who lack confidence and conviction and spits them out. However, very often the word “ego” is associated with negativity. Why? Because our experiences in observing ego are very often associated with arrogant behaviour. The best uses of ego are very often more discreet – much less obvious. In my view, ego is a very valuable fuel for artistic expression. Getting up in front of people and performing with confidence uses a great deal of this fuel, over and over again. Properly used, ego should be the gas in your tank. So why do so many people let the gas drive the car? Wasting one’s ego on power trips over others has no constructive purpose whatsoever. Moreover, there is an old saying – “bad news travels fast”. Sure, the old axiom “any news is good news” might work for a while. I’ll bet we can all think of a few artists whose antics and posturing have become tiring and nauseating. Arrogant displays of ego become quick fodder for the grapevine and especially the media. At that point, your control over public perception dramatically leaves your hands and is open to myriads of reinterpretation, often accompanied by dramatic embellishment, and seldom to positive effect. Be sure you are the one who controls your image, whether it is natural or designed. Channel your ego as fuel and you will be maximizing your energy efficiency.

“Winning The Music Game” is a book being written very slowly by Brian Allen based on his 40 years of experience in the music business.