“Done is better than perfect” – A quote from Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook. I learned this lesson when I was studying Marketing at the University of Aveiro and since then it has been one of my life mottos, especially at an artistic level. And it’s around this sentence that this Blog Post #5 is going to be based because I believe it’s a plus for all people who want to achieve their goals. However, as would be expected, I will address this theme by focusing primarily on electronic music and more specifically, the production process that all music artists love. But of course, this learning can be applied to any area, you can get the idea. I sincerely hope that this post will help you to find the light that you need to take a step forward towards your dreams.
CONTEXTUALIZING THE THEME
“I’m going to start another project, I’ll finish this later…” / “Fuck that, I’ll start over!” / “Endless lists of unfinished projects…”
Is there any producer out there who identifies with what was mentioned above? I think almost all the artists identify themselves with this, or at least at some point in their careers they have faced these situations. I am no exception! When I started my project Hozho, I was very motivated. I just wanted to produce music, always regarding a good result. When I started a new track I always said to myself: “This is going to be the best sound ever!” Well, after a week the track was in the recycle bin because at a certain point in the construction process of the track I thought it wasn’t that good after all. And then I started a new project, and the cycle was repeated. In 10 projects started, I only finished 1 or 2, at best.
Of course, music is something that depends a lot on inspiration and there are days when we feel more inspired than others. Which often leads us to start a new song more melancholic because on that day we feel sadder or because it’s raining. I understand this, and there is no problem if we have 2 or 3 unfinished projects. The problem is not to end these projects and start others, and to have an endless list of projects to finish. Talking a bit from experience, I believe that what drives us to do this is that we want the final result to be perfect. And we realize that at a certain point, the track isn’t as we idealized it at the beginning and it’s easier to start a new project than to get things done and finish the song. I still have not created my perfect track and I believe that I will never create it, no matter how hard I try. But one thing is for sure: every track I create and I release is one step closer to perfection!
THE POWER TO GET THINGS DONE
What I learned from Sheryl Sandberg’s quote is that just by having things done, we’re already one step ahead. The artistic career is truly lived by great moments but in reality, it’s something that is being built over time. So, don’t worry about results! Good results are a consequence of your work. Feel the music and enjoy what you are doing. Track after track you are becoming better and better. Finish your projects, even if the result is not what you expected.
Our brain is tricky. During the production process, we listen to the track that we are cooking over and over again. What happens when you hear a song you like repeatedly? You end up getting sick of it, right? The same thing happens during production. So, don’t think that your track sucks, you’re just sick of it. After two weeks, you will listen to the track and you will have another opinion, probably you will think that after all the track is fucking good!
And the good news – there will be fans who will love your music and listen to it in a different way. Because unlike producers, your listeners/fans really LISTEN to your music. We producers care more about how the track was made, we care about kick, bass, hat, clap, synths, pads, etc. There are songs that I released that I thought were not so good but in the end, my fans loved it! Consequently, I realized that if people like my music then I’m on the right way. And that’s what makes me wake up every morning!
So, I concluded that Sheryl’s quote makes perfect sense. It’s obvious that we all want to be perfect in what we do but I think that we simply shouldn’t worry about it. Mastery is only achieved with much practice and time invested. Do stuff. Finish your projects! That’s the most important. There are many people who have the dream but don’t have the ambition to do things. As you do stuff, even if you are not perfect, you are already one step ahead of those people and one step closer to your goals. That said, I finish this post with another powerful quote from Michael Jordan, who inspires me every day!
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”