Forget Being Realistic – Do This Instead

“Hey dreamer! Do you think you’ll ever achieve that musical fantasy? Get real!”

Chances are if nobody else has ever said that to you, you’ve said to yourself. Over and over and over.

But dreams are powerful. A Big Picture Vision gives you the mojo to go beyond living in someone else’s reality and become the creator of your own reality! So what’s holding you back?

In this episode, you’ll learn what that barrier is and how you can break through it to achieve your true musical potential.

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At Musical U we talk a lot about your Big Picture Vision and getting clear on the things you’re most excited about achieving in your musical life if everything went perfectly. Your ideal musical future.

This is a powerful idea – but there’s a big barrier that often holds people back. I’m going to tell you what that barrier is and how you can stop it from holding you back from your true musical potential.

First though, why is that idea of a “big picture vision” potentially powerful?

It’s powerful for three reasons:
1. It defines our “true North” and makes sure all our efforts are aligned with what we truly care most about
2. It sets an ambitious target that brings out the best in us.
3. It motivates us! If you can get past the barrier I’m going to talk about in a moment then this ambitious vision becomes a powerful motivating force to keep you consistent and enthusiastic in all your music learning.

So what’s the big barrier that holds people back from these three big benefits of setting an ambitious future vision or goal to aim for?

It’s the tendency to flinch back from it, and set our sights lower.

When we ask our audience and members at Musical U about their musical aspirations, often the reply comes in two parts…

See if you can spot them in each of these examples:

“I want to be able to play anything I hear! / Actually, just managing a simple melody would be okay.”

Someone talked about jamming and said they want to be “able to hold my own and create some interest in what I m playing. / Actually I’m not too bothered about creating the interest as long as I was doing the other stuff reasonably well I would be happy ”

“I want to learn to improvise. / I don’t want to be a professional or anything”

All too often people share their true aspiration, their real dream – and then immediately they back down from that. They flinch back from the scale of their true goal and substitute an “okay” or a “good enough” alternative.

This may seem harmless – and it’s certainly understandable – but it’s a massive barrier to actually achieving the results you care most about.

It’s a natural and understandable reaction, so don’t feel bad if you’ve done this. But let’s look at where it comes from.

There are two things:
1. We are humble and don’t want to be too boastful about our own potential.

Humility is admirable – but not if it holds you back from doing all you’re capable of in this world.

And in this case we’re not talking about shouting from the rooftops that you’re going to conquer the world because you’re the best! We’re talking about setting goals and aspirations purely for yourself, for your own guidance and motivation – so actually pride and humility don’t really come into it.

So you can safely bring unlimited ambition to your goals without feeling any guilt or shame about aiming high.

2. Our ego wants to protect us.

You can see it as two sides of your mind: the optimistic, ambitious mind which dreams up the things which excite you – and the rational, conservative egoic mind that says “That’s unrealistic, don’t try to do that”

It’s easy to resent that rational voice – but it’s just trying to protect you. As adults we fear failure and so our ego wants to steer us clear of any situations where we might fail.

It’s looking out for us – but it’s too narrow-minded and too literal to realise that sometimes you need to risk failure to achieve your greatest success.

As the famous author Norman Vincent Peale put it: Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

So we need to hear that doubting voice and say “Hey, I hear you, thanks for looking out for me – but I’m going to go ahead and do this anyway. I see the risk and it’s small and I choose to take it because I care more about the potential gain on the other side than the tiny amount of discomfort that would come from not achieving it.”

So that’s where it’s coming from. An admirable intention to stay humble and an understandable sense of self-defence. But neither is actually serving you.

And the good news is, just by understanding what’s going on you’re actually immediately equipped to overcome them.

You don’t need to do complicated exercises or a ton of psychotherapy.

You just need to take this idea on board: You are doing yourself a massive disservice if you flinch back from your true musical goals.

It takes a bit of courage to stand up and say “I’m going for this big, exciting thing” – even if it’s only to yourself. But it’s also incredibly empowering, exciting – and impactful.

So next time you’re setting a goal or defining your Big Picture Vision in music don’t flinch back. Stand up straight, be honest about what you truly want most – and then go for it.

Because once you cast aside any misplaced concern about pride and you shake off that (well-intended but unhelpful) egoic voice – then there’s nothing holding you back.

If you haven’t yet set a Big Picture Vision for your musical life then you’re going to want to grab the free worksheet we’ve put together that guides you through it step by step. Click the link or check the shownotes at to your copy for free, today.

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