One of the hardest things a busker has to overcome is the set of limiting beliefs he/she carries – in other words – his/her ‘mindset’. Nothing in life holds us back more than ourselves, and of course our attachment to a set of beliefs. (eg doubting your abilities; no faith that you can earn an income doing what you love to do… money doesn’t grow on trees, no such thing as a free lunch, etc, etc).
A particular mindset usually starts off with an experience or a comment from someone in a position of ‘authority’ (parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, etc) or from someone you respect or admire. And don’t ask me why, but if one of those comments happens to be negative, then we tend to get caught up on the doom and gloom and instead of moving forward with our dreams and desires, we usually change our course of direction – sometimes even come to a complete halt – according to what others say or think.
25 years ago, my first girlfriend asked me to shut up when I was singing because she didn’t like it. She just told me, point blank… “you’re crap”!
Take a moment to think about this one… have you ever been told something similar? Has someone told you that they didn’t like your music, or the songs you write weren’t good enough or the way you play a popular song was all wrong, etc, etc. I’ve had people cover their ears as they walk past me, I’ve made 20 cents after singing for 2 hours on the street and I’ve had bad reviews about my songs! The good news is, this happens to 99% of performers – including the Beatles!
Here’s another example… when my songs hit number one on the Australian independent charts, 99% of the reviews were all positive with 4-5 star ratings, but the ones that jumped out at me were the negative comments that a couple of people made.
If I’d let any of these negatives play a part in my career choices, I would have stayed in my bedroom singing to myself and missed out on years of incredible experiences. Like singing in some of the world’s most stunning cities, meeting some of the most talented, fun and interesting people EVER (including my beautiful wife), playing alongside world class musicians, etc, etc, etc. To think that my music wouldn’t have made it to my local press, let alone the New York Times is something I can hardly contemplate now.
And get this… when I first ventured out on the street I would play with an old guitar and repair my broken guitar strings. I didn’t think I could make enough to buy new strings and thoughts of a new guitar were filed under totally impossible! Some of the old beliefs that used to hold me back could possibly be the same ones holding you back. For example “I’m a starving artist… if I make lots of money then I would be selling out!”, I haven’t worked hard enough to deserve that”, “I’m not good enough to be playing alongside other talented performers”, “there are so many more great musicians who are better than me who should be up here on this stage”, “I’m only a busker so I don’t have enough money to buy (whatever) …new guitar, strings”, blah blah blah blah blah…
As soon as I started to question myself again and again about what I wanted, and got out of my comfort zone to make those things possible, I realised that I was living my life based on other peoples opinions and limiting beliefs. It was only when I determinedly went for my dreams that all the obstacles and excuses started to fade away and my success started to flow.
Unfortunately most of us feel comfortable living a life according to traditions or a set of beliefs, and as soon as we step out and consider something new, all sorts of chaos occurs within our mind and we start making excuses like “ I’m not clever enough to make it work”, “I can’t afford to do this or buy that or take such a risk”, etc. What we should be doing is continually asking, “What do I want and what steps do I need to take to get it”. Most people focus on why they can’t do, have or achieve something and usually end up living a tedious and repetitive existence.
I recently received an email from a musician called Christian Jones who lives in Western Australia. I’ve added it into the Busking Stories page because it’s a classic tale of breaking down limiting beliefs, following your dreams and making a great success happen against all odds. It can be hard to take a step like Christian has taken, especially when kids and family are involved, therefore all credit goes out to you Christian – Congratulations for stepping into the unknown and going for it! I’ve decided to make you our new Busker of the Month for setting such a great example! And whilst I’m handing out accolades… even more credit to your wife and kids for giving you the freedom to play! Now that Christian has a taste of what can happen when a daily existence is filled with passion, I can’t wait to see part 2 of his story. If he’s anything like me, it will include a family busk!
As for everyone else, I encourage you to get clear about what you want, then step out of your comfort zone and go for it! What’s the worst that can happen… you’ll come back to doing what you’re doing now. On the other hand, start thinking of all the things that can happen….!!!!! My story is a perfect example and I’m not including it to brag or blow my own trumpet, but to show you that it IS possible to live the life of your dreams, no matter what anyone else says or thinks!
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Johnnie Mac is a world class, professional, leading street performer, turned celebrated musician. He is the only Aussie Professional Busker who provides a fast, reliable and sure-fire Busking System that can transform any busker into a well paid and highly acclaimed entertainer enjoying a remarkably exciting lifestyle. To discover 101 Essential Tips to Have More Fun and Earn More Money Busking visit http://www.BuskerWorld.com/theBuskersBible