Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't. ~Erica Jong, How to Save Your Own Life, 1977
In today's analytics and data age, an essential element to being an artist is decisiveness. Every second of the day, a decision needs to be made and that decisiveness is ultimately the difference between making things happen and just having them happen to you.
It is human nature to be cautious with these choices that we make, because a split second decision can shape the rest of our lives. We have to suffer consequences for a seemingly bad decision, while a good decision can alter our future and create tremendous opportunities. This fear of potentially making a bad decision is what drives so many artists to procrastination. Procrastination, which is never an ally of creation, is ripe with indecision. Imagine if a songwriter with a deadline had to go through several outside sources before they could decide on changing the note to a melody of a song or if an engineer had to ask the artist for every edit or transition he needed to make.
"Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it". ~Gordon R. Dickson
Asking multiple sources for advice is the number one cause of indecision in an artist's career, whether this advice is creative or business based. As business advisers for independent artists, we can't count the number of times that we have been sought out by an artist for guidance, only to be met with an avalanche of oppositional views that they already brought with them to the table. Often times, this advice that artists come ready with in their minds is given to them not by current professionals, but by people who wished they had been artists themselves but never were able to make the correct decisions or had enough conviction to push through with their dreams. Many times, the advice artists hear are not given with merit but instead are a projection of decisions peers wish they had made themselves. As François La Rochefoucauld said, "Old men are fond of giving good advice, to console themselves for being no longer in a position to give bad examples". Before taking advice from someone, artists should first consider who the source is. Do they have any experience in the area they are advising on and can they show for it? Do they have any qualifications? Are they being objective?
Sadly, the trail of failure is littered with artists who have made it a habit of taking advice from the wrong sources at the wrong times. Simply put, they are just not making their own clear decisions.
The Internet and everything around us is rampant with advice for people lost and looking for the way. There is always someone somewhere who could have done what you are doing better or bigger. Don't be dismayed by this and find your voice after carefully sifting through credible advice you have taken in. Don't let other people's concerns or aspirations paralyze you into doing nothing at all. After all, the joys, sorrows, successes, and failures out of our lives come with every day decisions and choices- shape your own destiny and make them your own!