I just came across a talk from Derek Sivers to the class at Berklee school of Music. He shares “6 things I wish I knew before starting”. Powerful stuff. It applies to anyone currently at or going to a college or university:
- Focus, Disconnect and Do Not be Distracted – don’t let the casual ones tell you to relax. They will live casual lives, have casual skills and will not amount to much. Practice matters.
- Do not accept their speed limit – The classes are set at a pace that the average student can keep. If you are average, that’s your pace. If you don’t want to be average, don’t accept the mediocrity speed. “The standard pace is for chumps.”
- Nobody will teach you anything, you have to teach yourself – Its like a library. The teachers will present information to you. It is up to you to use it in your life. University is the best environment for learning, but you have to teach yourself.
- Learn from your heros, not just theirs – Teachers will give you rules to follow, heros to be inspired by… but they are their rules, their heros. Take the time to look at your own heroes and understand their lives, and draw your own lessons. “Never think that their heros are better than yours.”
- Do not get stuck in the past – “Innovation is needed more than imitation.” High performance people much prefer doing the wrong thing well than the wrong thing poorly. It is scary to innovate.
- When done, be valuable – Use university, but use your life. “Making money is nothing more than neutral proof that you are adding value to people’s lives.” It is easy to do it doing things that others’ don’t want to do, a fulfilling life is making money doing things that others’ have not worked hard to be great at.
Be one of the few clever enough to make money making music instead of pretending it doesn’t matter;