Are you looking for information or validation?
When you browse YouTube for information to improve your skills as an engineer or musician, do you gravitate towards certain channels or people? Why is that? Is it because their information is truly and objectively amazing and accurate? Or is it because they confirm what you've already suspected or hoped to be true? It just feels good to hear some authority validate our beliefs, so it's easier for us to follow the advice of people who already agree with us.
But what if that information turns out to be false or misleading? What if it's true for some people, but not a good idea in your specific situation?
Can you recognize that, unlearn your ideas and let go of your beliefs?
You might have recorded a bass track with old strings once and you liked the dull, "warm" tone it produced.
(Chances are it wasn't truly good, but you couldn't hear the problems back then, had no idea how to get that warm, round tone with fresh strings and didn't want to spend money on fresh ones, so you convinced yourself that using the old strings is probably a good idea.)
But for now let's assume that for some reason you really liked the tone, had no tuning problems, could fit it in the mix perfectly and it wasn't just because you didn't want to change.
You have that positive memory now and believe that using old strings is perfectly fine.
Then one day you research bass recording techniques and come across a lot of people online who tell you that 99% of all professional records are recorded with fresh strings and that you should change them every couple of hours in the studio. Even if there's clear evidence that this is true and even if all benefits of doing that are clearly explained to you, you doubt it, because you have that memory of you liking the sound of old strings.
So you keep searching and finally find someone who's telling you that on record "X" the famous artist "Y" used old strings and it turned out phenomenal. Boom! There's your validation. You now have an ally and can share that video or article with everyone telling you to change strings more often.
It's clearly an exception, it's probably not applicable for what you're trying to do, it might even be in a completely different genre, but it's the "information" you've been looking for. What you hoped to be true has been confirmed.
Can you unlearn it ? Can you discern myths, exceptions and the truth? Can you be open for other ideas?
Can you objectively assess whether a piece of information is accurate, applicable in your situation and actually helpful for what you're trying to do? Regardless of your previous beliefs and ideas?
That's how you grow. That's how you improve fast. That's how you reach your goals. Be flexible, be open minded and stop justifying bad ideas with questionable examples, just because it's the easy path.
I know that it's very hard to do a 180° and let go of things you've always believed in. Especially if you've already shared those ideas with others. Your band mates, other bands, clients, the public on social media, etc. I'm struggling with this all the time, myself.
But holding on to something, just because you're afraid to admit you were wrong won't get you anywhere. It's ok to be wrong, it's ok to change your opinion. You can do it. Adopt this new mindset and you'll only benefit from it.
PS: I often post videos to these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain
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