Continuing with our exploration of how to apply success principles to the musical life, today I’m going to talk about the principles of taking action, doing what must be done, and asking.

Take Action

“Many people don’t take action because of fear of failure.  But failure is an important part of the learning process.” –Jack Canfield

It’s obvious that taking action is important to achieving any goal, and becoming a good musician or achieving professional success as a musician is no different. Do you think about how much more you should be practicing than actually doing it? Do you think about looking for performing opportunities but never get around to it? Do you think about learning to play a specific piece, mastering a new style, or learning a skill such as improvisation, but never actually start?

If your answers to any of the above questions is yes, what action can you take today? What action will you take today? How could you risk failure today by acting, and thereby risk success?

Do What Must Be Done

“Behind every great achievement is a story of education, training, practice, discipline, and sacrifice.” –Jack Canfield

Beyond just taking action is doing what must be done to achieve your goal. This means taking action consistently, no matter how difficult or scary it might be.

If your goal is to form a highly-successful band, you’ll have to play well at the level required by the band’s music and learn its songs. So you’ll have to practice. You may have to learn to compose music. You’ll have to find the right musicians for your band, or convince a working band to let you join them. You’ll have to learn to get along with them. You’ll have to learn all the music business stuff.

Whatever your goal is, you are responsible for achieving it. Are you willing to do whatever it takes and to work at it for as long as it takes? Are you willing to do what must be done?


“Asking is, in my opinion, the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.” –Jack Canfield

What are some “asks” that you’ve been avoiding – the ones most relevant to achieving your dreams?

Asking your piano teacher if you can work on a different piece?

Asking your parents to buy you a better instrument?

Asking a bandmate to get his act together?

Asking a piano teaching colleague for help with a recital?

Asking is scary. When you ask, you risk rejection. But, Jack Canfield reminds us, if you don’t ask, you’re saying “no” to yourself before anyone else can.

And besides, if you don’t get what you asked for, you haven’t actually lost anything! You’re right back where you started.

Consider how much harder it is for most people to say “no” then “yes.” Take advantage of this fact by asking for what you want. If you get a “no,” you’re no worse off than before. If you get a “yes,” your life may change dramatically for the better. Canfield offers these “asking” tips:

Ask as if you expect to get it.

Assume you’ll get it.

Ask someone who’s qualified to give it to you.

Be specific.

Keep asking.

Canfield says that kids understand this last strategy best. They keep asking until mom or dad gives in.

In the next post in this series, I’ll talk more about rejection and what it really means, among other things.

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