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10 Reasons Eric Barfield From Nashville Believes No One Listens to Advice

Musicians are constantly bombarded with advice. Granted, a lot of advice isn’t that helpful, but some could completely change the trajectory of your career. So why do we suck so much at listening to good advice from others? I have 10 reasons I think we struggle with integrating great advice into our careers.

1. We’re emotionally motivated beings.
When things get heated, even the most logical people make decisions skewed by our emotions. This isn’t bad if we recognize it and embrace it as a factor. However, it can wreak havoc when we let it control our decisions.

2. We’re prideful.
We believe that we’ve got it covered when we don’t. Pride has led me to make some terrible decisions. Additionally, as musicians, it’s easy to disregard great advice because we see ourselves as more accomplished than the person giving the advice.

3. We think we’re unique.
It’s easy as musicians to have the feeling that everything we’re going through is unique to us. This is likely due to the fact that there are so few people we know with the exact same career path as us. While most people aren’t professional musicians, getting “big picture” advice from the people you trust can help add perspective. There is usually a way to adapt general advice to help with specific problems.

4. We aren’t good listeners.
We don’t pay attention to everything someone is saying. Additionally, we unconsciously twist things to make it say what we want. When you listen to advice, rephrase what the person is saying to you back to them to make sure you understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

5. We don’t recognize good advice.
One of the easiest ways to tell whose advice is worth listening to is by seeing their longterm career success. Everyone has ups and downs, but if there’s a long pattern of problems professionally, it might be best to accept advice elsewhere.

6. We can’t figure out how to implement what we hear.
It’s easy to hear advice, it’s hard to figure out how to use it. When I hear advice that is really good, I write it down and meditate on it. This helps me try to better understand what it means, and how it can influence my actions.

7. We don’t think we have a problem.
The problem with most musicians is that we don’t even know what the issues are that we’re struggling with. You may think you’re having a hard time landing a record deal or getting enough money to finance your project. We don’t realize that these are just symptoms of much deeper issues we’re avoiding. Reflection and meditation are useful tools in helping us to see where we can realistically grow.

8. We think the best way to learn something is by doing it ourselves.
While this might be true for most activities it may not be true for everything. Listening to others that have been doing what you want to do is invaluable for avoiding time wasters and expensive detours.

9. We think we’ve tried the advice, and it didn’t work.
We all think that if it didn’t work for me at some point in the past, it still won’t work today. Don’t write something off just because it feels like going backward.

10. We’re afraid of success.
Deep down most of us don’t want to be successful. We know what we’re currently doing will feel different if we’re truly successful. Perhaps we’re afraid we wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional pressures. Or you don’t feel like you’ve done the legwork to deserve a higher level of success. Thus we ignore good advice that might help us achieve our dreams.

If this is you, it’s time to take steps towards accepting success. I strongly recommend reaching out to my friend Steve Grossman. His rates are really reasonable, he offers online mentorship plans, and he’s the best person I’ve ever met. He’s helped a lot of people I know to develop a plan for success.

About the author

Musician and leader of Balanced Breakfast in Nashville.

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