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Artists: Change Your Thoughts. Change Your Mind. Change Your Life

A lot of musicians are nerds.

There. I said it.

Or should I say… were nerds. Their exterior may have a new shine to it now; calm, cool and collected. But on the inside, well that’s a different story.

Let’s face it, many of us became musicians to try and break free from those nerdy chains that bound us. We were introspective, overly shy and awkward kids, not quite knowing our place. But then we found something we loved, music. We embraced a niche that suited our passions, latched on to it and poured everything we had into truly being a part of it.

You grew up. You became cool. You played in a bunch of bands and experienced a modicum of twenty-something success. In fact, you even had a few groupies. But deep down inside, those insecurities still lurked, buried beneath layers of cool.

And then when you wanted success the most, you just couldn’t take things any further. You couldn’t get out of playing the same old house parties. You booked club shows, but no one really showed up. You bought boxes of t-shirts, only to sell a handful. Perhaps you had some internal band fights, lost a couple of members and had to start the long and arduous task of searching for new players.

And that’s when it happened. The Inner-Nerd reappeared. The self-doubting pessimist. The why-is-the-world-against-me, shy Nerd. And guess who he brought with him? Mr. Negativity.

And so began the the fight within yourself. You became your worst enemy, constantly telling yourself that no one cares, no one will ever listen to your music, no one will ever visit your website or go to your shows, no one will ever book your band for a cool festival appearance… no one with any clout in the industry will ever want to work with you. But you kept on going, because that’s all you knew… despite being totally consumed with negative, self-loathing thoughts that made you bitter towards everyone and everything.

But here’s the thing that most people don’t realize; those crazy, self-doubting and fearful thoughts are biological. They happen to all of us. In fact, they’re actually left over evolutionary relics from the ancient lizard brain that still resides within our thick skull. Seriously. I’m not kidding. It’s the oldest part of your brain, and it’s called the amygdala.

Your Emotions Attract Reality. Negativity Attracts Negativity.

These pesky thoughts must be changed in order for you to move forward with positivity and success in your life. But believe it or not, those dark thoughts can be easily duped and reprogrammed. You can trick your amygdala into making those feelings disappear!

The first step is to simply be conscious of them. When you catch yourself thinking crazy shit like this, just tell yourself to snap out of it and knock it off. Now, that may be easier said than done, but just being aware of them is half the battle.

Once you’re aware of these old lizard brain thoughts, use positive affirmations to reassure yourself, “I’m happy, positive and full of vibrant energy! I am master of my universe! Nothing can stop me from achieving my goals!”

Think of the most fantastic, exhilarating, or happiest moment of your life. Got it? Now multiply that times a thousand, or ten thousand. Or a million. Be ridiculous. The more extreme and exaggerated your thoughts and imagery are, the better. You CAN change your emotions. And when you do this, it causes automatic sensations of pleasure and peace of mind… allowing you to move on with the important task at hand; achieving your goals.

If you can control your perceptions, you can control your reality.

Chances are that if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it’s due to the negative energy you’re consumed with and are putting out into the world. I’m not saying those feelings might not be valid, but they certainly aren’t doing you any good. They’re standing in the way of you overcoming a temporary situation. After all, if you’re filled with self-doubt you clearly won’t be concentrating on your goals. And if you’re filled with negative emotions, they will undoubtedly affect others around you… who in turn may not want to work with you because of your shitty vibe (or at the very least, won’t be inspired and they’ll have zero motivation because of your blah attitude).

Be conscious of your thoughts. Focus on positive energy.
Change your thoughts, change your mind, change your life.
You are what you think.
Manifest your destiny!

Brian Thompson


This post is 100% original content, but it was inspired by the book: The Nerdist Way, How To Reach The Next Level (In Real Life), by Chris Hardwick.

What do YOU think? Join the Discussion on Thorny Bleeder Here

Reader Comments (11)

Thank you for this post. This is SO true!! I have learned to practice the principles of overcoming "stinkin' thinkin'" by countering negative thoughts with positive affirmations. We can truly be our own worst enemies when we lose the battle in our heads. Every once in a while I'll have one of those days--in fact it was last Friday--where EVERYTHING in my head was negative. It was like the stink dial was on 11. It can be so hard to put one foot in front the other, but then it helps to remember that the crappy thoughts are just that: crap! So pull the head out!! The REALITY is that every one of us is unique and so have something uniquely wonderful to offer the world. So get on with it! :-)

Thanks again for sharing!!

December 5 | Registered CommenterKelly Carpenter

Great post Brian. We are so good at sabotaging ourselves and you give a good explanation of where those horrible negative thoughts come from.

You have reminded me of T Harv Eker's writings. Here's a short quote from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. "If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible" ie your results (the visible) and your thoughts (the invisible).

Eliza, The Fan Formula

Thanks for the pick-me-up Brian! You are so right on all points! When I go play shows I am so encouraged by the audience, then I slide into nobody-likes-me mode when I'm home and nothing is happening. If other artists are like me, then you're all mental too, I guess I'm in good company here :)

December 5 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Gibson

I can tell this was written by someone who has gone through the ups and downs of being an artist. I really appreciate your perspective. In my upper 20s and I have found myself in this debilitating funk that you mention the last few years. It really is crazy how much we shun positive thoughts with negative remarks mentally without even noticing it.

I realized this when I recently read "Rich Dad Poor Dad" for the first time. He calls it your "chicken little". When I came to this realization it unlocked a large negative cloud over my head. However, life struck and I forget about the impact of this breakthrough until I came across your article. So thank you. I am going to set a reminder to read this article once a day for the next week and see what impact it has!

December 5 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Thanks for the great comments you guys, I'm so glad to hear this piece was able to connect with both of you.


December 5 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Thompson

I'm usually the guy telling people this, that said, I couldn't be more grateful to see it here and be reminded.

Many thanks

December 5 | Unregistered Commentergaetano

Maybe what's missing from your article is that the negativity is not merely an indicator of someone who needs a pep talk ... it could be an indicator that trying to "make it" in music is often a ridiculous venture taken on for the wrong reasons ... and that playing and singing from our heart is something that is often most appreciated where music is a shared, non-competitive enterprise ... possibly your corner bar or your neighborhood church .. but to perpetuate this myth that you can "make it" if you have the right attitude is shallow at best. Everyone is musical - but not everyone needs to be a professional musician - period, end of story.

December 5 | Unregistered CommenterKristina Stykos

Thanks for the post Brian, always a great reminder!


December 6 | Unregistered CommenterZain Lodhia

This fucker must've been reading my mail for the last 25 years. Eerie.

December 8 | Unregistered CommenterBilly CHrist

@ Kristina: "Everyone is musical - but not everyone needs to be a professional musician - period, end of story."
Very true. Question the motives you are doing it for, and if your heart is into it for the right reasons, then go for it and take a little advice from this post ;)
But it´s not for everyone, and it shouldn´t be. Sometimes constructive criticism from self helps us understand the path we should walk on. the tricky part is understanding and telling constructive criticism from negativity and insecurity.

December 21 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

Que post! impactante para fin de año. Me hizo ver y recordar mis propias capacidades. Gracias por eso.

January 1 | Unregistered Commenterwalter

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