From a young age, we are taught that there is no limit to what you can do or become. Is this something that we really believe? I understand the meaning behind the phrase, strive to be the best you can be in all that you do. But what would you think if I told you, "Limitations can be life-changing in a positive way."
From a musician standpoint, it is often said, "I'm trying to go to the top." If you really think about it, what does that even mean? We say it like there's an actual destination. The top or success can look different for everyone and it's usually unpopular to tell someone that there are limits on their abilities.
Here is a simple example. In a recording environment, when tracking instruments, it is a good universal practice to play to some form of a click track or metronome. This establishes the tempo or meter you would use to play to the beat of the music being recorded. If you think about it, this time keeping mechanism puts limits on how fast and how slow you can play while recording. But it provides the best outcome, and that is to sync all the instruments together.
Here's a little more of a complex example, and also a true story about me. The reason why I started playing drums originally was because of one of my cousins. Watching him play inspired me to pick up a pair of sticks. Watching his career, I was in awe of the things he would get to experience and the accomplishments he had achieved. I found myself trying to follow in his footsteps. That doesn't sound so bad, but the reality is, I was lacking maturity because I found myself literally trying to chase his career.
My first wake up call happened several years ago. His band was on tour and was making their way through San Luis Obispo, to play a show at SLO Brew. He called me the night before the show to meet up. I met up with him at the hotel he was staying at and as he opens the door to his room he says, "This is it. This is what being a rock star is, it can be lonely." We started talking about stability, and it began to open my mind to the reality that even though I'm not overall where I want to be when it comes to being a musician, I still have stability when it comes to taking care of my needs. Now, this could be not the most popular thing to tell a musician, but it made me think further.
Who wouldn't love to see the world, who wouldn't want to have their face on billboards, be sponsored by major music companies, and make a living doing what you love? I think this is every musician's ideal scenario. This is his life, and that is what I was viewing my success as, chasing his career. But one thing I failed to realize was the process it took to get there. Being able to have a little bit more access to him then most, I've been able to spend time with him and study his day to day process. The information I got was so valuable and life-changing because it let me know that I have limits. Because of family and other responsibilities, it would never make sense that I would be able to sit on my drumset day in and day out for 12 hours a day, along with other things that it takes to reach his level in his career
.Knowing your limits is not a bad thing. When it came to this concept, knowing I have limitations allowed me to focus more on my abilities and grow within my talents. I was able to find my sense of purpose and make a plan on how I could maximize that to the fullest. I will always strive for better in everything I do, but I will no longer use someone else's career to determine my success. What's for me is for me and no one can change that.