At New Year it’s common for people to take stock of things in their lives and set themselves goals of things they might want to do in the next year. Yesterday I wrote an article about this – if you’ve not read it yet, you can read it here:
In that article I talked about the importance of goals and setting them, and how to pursue them. Inthis article I want to talk about goals and dreams – and the difference between them. This is crucial to understand if you want to set effective goals to make you a better bass player.
So What’s The Difference Between A Goal And A Dream?
From a goal setting point of view, the difference between a goal and a dream is that YOU control whether you reach a goal or not, and whether you achieve a dream or not is determined by people outside your control.
To illustrate this:
GOAL: to learn slap bass playing like Victor Wooten.
This IS something that is achievable, though the attainment of it may take you half a lifetime. There are specific skills you have to master – and mastering those skills can be broken down into steps along the way. Attaining this goal will depend solely on the hours of practice that YOU put in.
Contrast this with a dream:
DREAM: to be as ‘famous’ as Victor Wooten. (Or sell as many records as Victor Wooten. Or play sold out shows like Victor Wooten. )
This is outside your control. It’s entirely possible that if you spend the time achieving your goal of playing like Victor Wooten that you will achieve similar levels of ‘success’ as Victor Wooten. But it’s not a given.
It depends on other people – people need to read about you, or buy your records, or buy tickets to your shows, or fly around the world to come to your nature camps.
You could invest thousands of hours to develop similar ability levels – but have nothing like the commercial success that Victor Wooten has. And IF you are measuring how successful those practicing hours are in terms of your success, you’ll judge yourself a failure.
And that’s sad – because YOU CAN’T CONTROL THAT SIDE OF THINGS. By the time you’ve invested the time learning to play like Victor (just an example remember 😉 ) it’s entirely possible that some new girl or guy has taken the scene by storm and that Victor’s style is now old fashioned.
Or maybe there’s a renaissance in classical music – and people aren’t listening to bass driven music anymore.
Or anyone of a number of factors that you can’t control.
Why It’s Crucial To Audit Your Goals
This is why it’s crucial to audit your goals – and to make sure that your practice schedule is built up of activities that rely solely on you. If there’s activities in your practice schedule that rely on other people – then the chances are that you are setting yourself up for ‘failure’ because you have not defined what you are trying to do precisely enough.
So carefully audit each of your playing goals and make sure that the success or failure of that goal is determined SOLELY by the work that you do in the woodshed. If one of your ‘playing goals’ relies on someone else making a decision – so by definition it is a dream and not a goal – then you either need to strike it from your list of goals, or reword it in terms that rely only on you.
Auditing your goals in this manner means that every practice activity you’re undertaking is moving you forward towards the short, medium and long term goals that you have set yourself.
Work On Your Goals, And Let The Dreams Take Care Of Themselves
Jon Bon Jovi was being interviewed and the interviewer basically sketched out the career that he’s had and said something along the lines of that Bon Jovi had been very lucky. Jon’s reply was golden:
“I have been lucky. But it’s funny, the harder I’ve worked, the luckier I’ve been.”
There’s a great lesson for all of us there…you WILL get opportunities to do some of the things you’ve dreamed of. But you’ll only be able to grasp those opportunities and make something from them if you’ve spent the time working on your bass playing, and your understanding of the bass guitar.
And that comes back to setting effective goals. And following them through.