Are You "All In"?

Posted by Aaron Davison on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
About two years ago I had the idea of starting a music retreat center/recording studio in Playa Del Carmen,Mexico, a beautiful resort town about an hour south of Cancun in Mexico. I had been to Playa Del Carmen several times on vacation and I felt like it would make the perfect location for a place musicians could get away, study music and record their songs in a tropical location. Everyone I mentioned the idea to agreed that it was a great idea. 

So In January of 2013 I booked a one way ticket to Playa Del Carmen with the intention of staying there long enough to somehow make my dream a reality. In retrospect I realize I didn't really have a well thought out plan. I had a little money saved up and a less than fully formed vision of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I think a part of me just wanted to trade the cold Chicago winters for a warmer climate and beautiful beaches.

When I got to Playa Del Carmen I realized that I didn't know anyone and that I probably didn't have enough money saved up to realistically do what I wanted to do. After a couple uneventful and rather boring couple weeks I decided to book a flight back to Chicago. I had about a week between the time I booked my flight and when I would be leaving. During this time I started meeting a lot of people and making good contacts. I met several musicians who agreed that my idea was a good one and that Playa Del Carmen would make a great location due to its proximity to the US and the thousands of tourists that flock their each year from all over the world. I even got asked to join a local band that was in need of a guitar player after they heard me play at an open mic.

After two weeks of frustration I could actually start to see a way that I could at least start to move towards my goals in Playa Del Carmen.  But, I had already booked my return flight to Chicago and told my friends I was coming back. So I ultimately decided to return back to Chicago and put my idea of starting a tropical music center on hold.  I wasn't "All In" with the idea and so I ultimately gave up before I really gave myself a chance to see it through.

About three years ago I found myself newly single after a four year relationship I was in came to an end. A few weeks after my breakup I went out one night by myself to a local wine bar. I sat down and ordered a glass of Merlot when I noticed a beautiful brunette at the end of the bar drinking a glass of white wine. I stuck up a conversation with her and after about an hour or so suggested we should go out sometime. Her name was Ellin, she agreed, and we exchanged numbers.

Ellin and I ended up dating for about two months. For reasons I still don't fully understand, after about two months I abruptly ended our relationship. I guess in retrospect the timing just wasn't right.  I still wasn't entirely over my ex and felt like I wasn't quite ready to jump into another serious relationship.  In short, I wasn't "All In" and so the relationship fizzled before it really had a chance to go anywhere. But I still think about Ellin to this day an sometimes think about her and wonder how she is doing.

Are You All In?

I consult a lot of musicians about how to license their music and a topic that comes up frequently is how saturated the music licensing business is. My clients are understandably concerned about the competition and although I understand why people have these concerns, I think it's the wrong way to look at things.

Every licensing opportunity that exists will be given to someone. The real question to ask is how you can be that someone. Don't focus on the competition, focus on what you can do to increase your chances of success.

Music is really something you have to be "All In" to succeed at. Like any endeavor, you can't approach music half in and half out. You can't waffle. This is really a recipe for failure.

When I start to waffle and go back and forth while pursuing goals, I almost invariably fail. Almost any goal you set for yourself, whether it's in business, relationships or music, will have obstacles. If you're not fully committed to your goals, it's going to be very hard to overcome the obstacles that present themselves.

Almost any endeavor I've failed at, has been due to my not being "All In". Conversely, the areas I've my life I've succeeded in have required sustained effort. Whether it's relationships that have lasted a long time, my businesses or the modest success I've had in music, none of it has fallen into my lap.

I read a great quote the other day, which is:

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you committed to achieving success? Are you all in? Or are you still on the fence, worried about all the factors you can't control. Like my grandfather used to eloquently say "shit or get off the pot".

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