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Dealing with people who don’t believe in you

I’ve come across so many artists who are angered by the fact that people that they care about don’t believe in their craft. This is a source of great anger which I’ve seen being channeled in several ways.

Some people get an ‘I’ll show them’ attitude where they’re fueled by people’s disbelief. These people work tirelessly to improve and so that they can show their non-believers that they were wrong. I found myself in this category a few times.

In varsity, people would ask me why I spent so much time clicking away pc trying to make different sounds. I never had an answer other than the fact that I enjoyed it. This would continue into my working years. Given the non-belief from my colleagues, I was never shaken. I was doing what I enjoyed and it didn’t matter what my work colleagues believed.

The apparent non-belief from close friends and family was what got to me. People close to me saw my music as a hobby that I took very seriously and nothing more. I couldn’t blame them. I also couldn’t feel bad when they were reluctant to support me. It was only after I got placements and my studio was full of clients that people started referring to it as a side-business. I know they meant well and their intention was to protect me from disappointment, but I only learned this much later on.

The next set of people are much like the first set of people, but they’re a lot more destructive with their energy. They have a persistent drive to achieve their dreams so that they can shove it in their non-believers faces. They generally say things like ‘no one believed in me’ and ‘I did all this by myself’. I had this sort of outlook until 2020 when the pandemic hit. I was getting by quite well with my craft, but I realized that I could achieve so much more with a group of people around me. I could set greater goals and do so much more by including people in my endeavors. I also noticed that it’s so much better to celebrate as a group than as an individual. Since then, I’ve tried to bring in as many collaborators as possible when working on projects. It’s shown me a lot about working in groups and managing individuals. It’s also shown me that there are people who are better suited to certain tasks. This pulled me away from the ‘one-man army’ mindset and pushed me towards the ‘WE WILL make it by any means necessary’ mindset. Get a few people with this attitude and a common goal in the same corner and you’ve got a very strong team.

The third group of people I’ve come across are those who try to cut out the noise from non-believers but end up cutting out everyone else with an opinion on their craft. These opinions, when considered carefully, are a great source of direction for new artists. It’s like a feedback loop that we can use to improve quickly. I see this group calling everyone with a negative reaction to their music, a hater. They also find a need to over explain themselves when someone says there’s something they don’t like about their music. I’ve seen some people even shield themselves from criticism proactively by saying ‘it’s a rough version’ or ‘it’s not mixed yet’. When people hear the music on a mass scale and it doesn’t do well they say things like ‘the music was before its time’ or ‘people just don’t understand the vision yet’. I’m of the opinion that people should just put their music out into the world. Opinions are great, but they shouldn’t dictate whether you put art out into the world. You will always have an audience. They will decide.

In summary, there are many ways that the energy from non-believers can be channeled. If you find yourself in a space where people express (directly or indirectly) that they don’t believe in what you’re doing, assess how much bearing their opinion has on whether you’ll still be making music tomorrow. If it’s not that great, continue doing what you love and you’ll find that many people who were skeptical in the beginning end up becoming your biggest fans.



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