Greetings, and I hope you are doing fabulously!
This year has been full of rich, satisfying “real life” stuff like touring, family,
moving, teaching my “Study With Adam” online guitar students, and recording.
Transparency Report and Major Goal Achieved
In January 2016 I offered you a “transparency report” and I mentioned one of my goals for 2016 was to record a new CD.
The inner satisfaction I get from finishing big projects is the “joy of accomplishment.” It’s a great feeling.
Holding a finished CD in my hand gives me a boost; it gives me a positive self image, and gives me the confidence that I can do anything I set out to do.
I also love to reflect on “what part of my inner resistance did I have to conquer to finish this project?”
But First, a Plug for My New CD!
Mission accomplished! “Play Pretty for the People” will be released September 6, 2016.
Please watch the 2:50 goofy promo video 🙂 :
How did I Get This CD Project Done? By Saying “NO” to Distraction…
The hardest part of making the “Play Pretty for the People” was not the guitar playing, mixing or overseeing the design of the the CD cover.
The hardest part was saying “NO” to all the distractions which clawed at my attention on a daily basis.
Every day we are all confronted with politics, news, Facebook, urgent and unimportant email, pop-up advertisements on all the “free” services we enjoy, and 9 million other distractions which sit on our “daily to-do list.”
Why Not Clear Up Little Things First?
“Clearing up little things first” before of attacking the BIG, UGLY (yet most important) thing first thing in the day is THE big mistake, the goal killer.
When you think “I’ll just clear up this little stuff first”, it always takes longer than you think, requires more energy than you planned, and often spirals into new and wonderful complications.
It opens the Pandora’s Box of irrelevant distraction, which prevents you from getting the important stuff done.
“Clearing up little things first” also eats up your “creative edge” for the day. You find yourself saying “How the heck did it get to be 5pm? Oh well, I’ll get to the BIG thing tomorrow”, but tomorrow never comes, if you follow today’s pattern.
I learned this from Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog! – where he preaches the gospel of focusing on one’s most important task, first thing in the day.
The Discipline to Say “NO”
Let’s say you have a goal or project, and you know exactly what task you need to work on to achieve your aim.
When you start on your BIG UGLY (important) task, your mind will start to squirm. It will fight back with thoughts like – “Wait, I have to check my email and Facebook!” It’s like a someone trying to lose weight having thoughts of fried chicken “pop up” in their mind.
For me, the big ugly daily task was getting down to recording, first thing in the day, and leaving less creative tasks for later on in the day.
One would think it’s a joy to record, but for me it is gut wrenching hard work, because I tend to be a perfectionist. I have to give 100% concentration, soul and intellect. I also have to remember to take breaks, pace myself, and know when to stop.
And for those reasons, there was a part of me that also wanted to “put it off until later” and not face the difficulty head on.
That’s why, for me it’s classified under “BIG & UGLY.”
All the more reason for my monkey-mind to think…“you need to email so and so about a gig, you need to pay this bill, you need to do laundry, have another cup of coffee, maybe tweak your website colors…
and then, after you finish all that – you can record…” 🙁
But, as Gumby would say, “No DAMMIT!”
To you it looks like a I have a new CD coming out.
To me, holding a copy of “Play Pretty for the People” in my hand is a trophy won for saying “no” to all the unimportant things that tried to pull my attention away from achieving my goal.
(And..check back or look on iTunes after September 6, 2016 for the new CD!)
Like this? Please Leave a Comment Below!
Martin Hietkamp says
Congratulations Adam with finishing this BIG goal. Looks like a really nice CD, can’t wait to hear it!
I can identify with your struggle a little bit. Have been enjoying your lessons on Studywithadam and recorded and send you my first video about a year ago. Since then I have learned two of your other songs but haven’t gotten around to record a video of them. In my head it seems like a lot of work so I keep post poning it.
Your post inspired me to record at least one of them this week. I’ll just do it! 🙂
Martin, great looking forward to something new from you!
Oh man, I need to do this too
Finding the way to say NO and record that CD now….
I totally agree to what you say Adam, but I am to weak. I got 2 dogs (Buddy got a new girlfriend), so many good friends to meet, lots of fine wine, my beautiful wife , concerts to organize… but someday I will be strong and say NO….but that can take some more months, years etc….
Have fun my friend and send a CD soon!
Yes Rolli, it’s tricky especially when it’s that we don’t “have to” put a CD out but just “want to.” I had a lot of questions in my mind about priorities, what I should do, are CD’s worth it, and so on. Ok, your CD will come next, right?
Marcus Corrigan says
Congratulations Adam and yes it’s a great post. Your story motivates me a lot and it shows how to accomplish a task by ‘Saying No’ to distractions and clearing little things first. I am eagerly waiting to listen to your CD.
Hi Adam — I always get something out of your blogs and posts.
I’m currently trying to ‘break free’ from distractions – to get myself out there more as a solo guitarist, instead
of going from project to project and ending up nowhere. So, this type of post from you really hit the mark.I’ve also ordered a copy of Eat That Frog, to get some clearer methods for staying on track.
Really looking forward to your CD.
Joe Flynn says
Great post, Adam. ‘ A trophy won for saying “no”‘. Six words that’ll keep me rehearsing til the small hours of the morning. Really glad to have discovered your insights and music.
Yup, that’s me. Guilty as charged. My Big Hairy Goal is daily practicing. See, I broke my left wrist a while ago. A compound fracture that needed surgery and a metal plate in my hand, not just a simple cast. So my goals are: 1. rehab the hand wrist, and finger muscles, (which I had never developed in the first place). 2. Learn proper technique. I was self-taught and got as far as I could without actually learning proper technique. 3. Learn modern fingerstyle. I was fairly good at folk/blues fingerpicking (rigid alternating bass), or as good as I could be with lousy technique. But I longed for more. When I quit in the 80’s (pre Internet) Fingerstyle was not a thing, except for Chet Atkins style, which we all knew was inhuman and impossible, and achieved through some sort of dark magic. Now that I’m back in the game, The internet has a reality for a while, home recording is practical, and Free Fingerstyle is a real thing and Real Mortals can master it. So if I’m going to practice for a year to make myself over, I’ve gotta do Fingerstyle.
Thing is finger training and technique development is really boring. That’s why I keep doing my personal email and chores first. I’ve spent the last month trying to get past my mental block, but now you’ve given me a trick: the best time for practicing is first thing in the morning. And if I do it, I’ll reward myself with learning new songs right after. It starts in the morning..