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Take the Test
by Tom Hess

If you consider yourself to be pessimistic person, do yourself a favor, - don't waste your time reading another word.

In my music Careers Mentoring Program, I ask my students (those I mentor) to take a very special test in one of the first few sessions. It's an eye-opening experience for everyone who goes through this (I'll share this valuable test with you in a few moments).

Before my own professional music career began I had been spinning my wheels for years, unaware of why I was not yet a pro, even though my guitar playing and composition skills were already highly developed. There was something missing that had prevented me from getting the big success I was after. The biggest problem was that I wasn't even aware of what was missing. Years passed and a great mentor came into my life who told me, "Reasons come first, answers come second". This one statement had a profound impact on me as I began to develop my career. It became clear what it was I needed to do (get clear and conscious about the real reasons behind what it was I wanted). Prior to that revelation I was basically clueless about "how" I would ever develop and sustain a great career in the music industry as a recording artist and internationally touring guitarist. Once I had clarity of purpose, I was able to move toward my goals much more effectively.

On the surface, it may seem too simple or too obvious how one can define one's purpose and reasons behind an ultimate goal. I assure you it is not as simple as it seems (as I will show you soon). I asked and answered a series of questions for myself, which eventually led me to the "true" path of success. 95% of my goal has been realized and I continue to work towards the attainment of the remaining 5%. With this new insight, I began to turn my attention towards my music students (especially towards the career-minded musicians I mentor) and am happy to say the results have been great for them and very rewarding for me.

All right, so if you have read this far I'll assume you are still with me, optimistic and open minded. Please get a piece of paper and something to write with. (Do NOT try to take this test in your head). You will get a lot more out of this, if you can see your answers written on paper.

1. Write down your goals (for now, lets stick with purely musical related goals).

2. Look at your written goals and choose one that is most important to you (this is probably one of your long term goals).

3. Now that you know your most important goal, imagine that you now have it. What does this give you that you did not have before? (write it down)

4. So now that you have that, what will that give you that you did not have before? Write this down.

5. Now that you have this, what will this give you that you did not have before? Write your answer down.

6. Ok, so now you have another thing that you did not have before. What will this other thing give you that you did not have before? Whatever that is write it down.

7. Continue going through this process of asking yourself, "What will having this give me that I did not have before?" Ask yourself this question as many times as it takes until you have refined your series of answers down to the most fundamental answer - to the point where you can not refine your answers any further.


If all of this seems confusing to you, here is an example to illustrate how this works. Lets say your biggest goal is to be wealthy. Following the steps above, it may have looked something like this:

1. Question: Write down your goals or things you want to achieve.

Answer: I want to be wealthy.

2. Question: What does this give me that I did not have before?

Answer: It would allow me to stop worrying about having enough money to pay for my expenses.

3. Question: So now that I would be able to stop worrying about paying for my expenses, what will that give me that I did not have before?

Answer: It would give me the ability to buy whatever I want and do whatever I want.

4. Question: Now that you have the ability to buy and do what I want, what will this give me that I did not have before?

Answer: Freedom!

5. Question: Ok, so now you have this new freedom, what will you do with it that you are not doing or experiencing now?

Answer: I wouldn't have to work and could spend more time with the people I care about.

You can see in this case, what this person desires more than anything else is to spend more quality time with people he/she cares about most. The wealth (money) was simply the vehicle (method) that this person choose to use, but the heart of the matter is time, not money. And the real obstacle isn't a lack of money or time, it was a perceived lack of freedom to spend more time with people without making big sacrifices to do so.

Although becoming wealthy is a perfectly good vehicle (method) to use, it may not be the most effective vehicle for all people. Perhaps there are better, easier and faster ways to reach the true goal of spending more time with people. And perhaps a perceived lack of freedom is not the real obstacle at all. There are many other possibilities that may be more valid reasons for why this person has not reached the true goal yet.

If you have separate goals related to music such as pursuing a career in music, go through the same list of questions again and really dig down deep to find out what it REALLY is that you want. You should discover that your ultimate final answers are deep human emotional needs, not external material things. Getting these needs met may have nothing to do with music and in fact you might be able to get your real needs met by doing something else outside of music all together.

Now look back at your original answers when you took the test and consider your present situation. Consider these four things.

1. Is what you really want different than what you first stated your original goal was? Notice how different it is. Can you see that your original stated goal was probably a "vehicle" and not a real goal.

2. Consider that what might have seemed like your primary obstacle might not really be your real obstacle.

3. Notice that your old strategy (if you had one) may be ineffective in getting what you really want because it was focused on a vehicle only and not the deeper goal.

4. Are you on the right path?

Take the time: I cannot overemphasize the point enough to really dig deep, so take your time and don't rush through this assignment, because doing so may literally save you a lifetime of regret. In the corporate world, it's common to hear stories of highly successful business men and women, who sacrifice many things in life to climb the corporate ladder. After many years, they reach the top and finally are able to see the view of things with a broader perspective of their efforts and all that they have worked so hard for. The tragedy for some is that the ladder they climbed was leaning against the wrong wall and it is only in the end of their career (or life) that they finally realize it with great regret.

That is part of the reason why I have my music careers students go through this test. It is designed to allow some people to discover for themselves that maybe a music career is not really what they need or want in life. It is such an eye opening experience for them since 5 minutes before going through this process, they thought they were sure they wanted a music career. So obviously those people should not go any further in the pursuit of a career in music and instead should change paths toward what really matters in their life. It would be a shame to climb the wrong ladder.

.However, for those that do discover that a music career really is for them, new possibilities, opportunities and powers are born and strengthened from their own clarity of purpose and certainty of destiny. Because of this, their chances of success go up 10,000%!

Go far beyond your music: Putting music aside for a few moments, I have one final request. Consider ALL aspects of your life.

Your relationships with your family, friends, teachers (if you are a student), your employer (if you work), career goals, personal goals, your creator (if you are spiritual or religious) etc. Go through the entire series of questions I gave you in the test above. Notice that in some areas you might already be on the right path to personal fulfillment, happiness and success. With other things you may find yourself on the wrong path. It's a whole lot easier to get what you really want when you have total clarity about what that really is based on the "reasons" of why you want it. It's extremely difficult to hit a target you can't see.

I wish you the best....really.

About Tom Hess

Tom HessTom Hess is a touring musician, composer and the guitar player for the metal band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also teaches guitar players from around the world via online correspondence guitar lessons. Visit were you can find free video guitar lessons, free guitar playing resources and more guitar articles.

Guitar Lessons and Articles by Tom Hess on

Music Business & Career Articles

How To Transition From Your Day Job Into A Successful Music Career
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 1
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 2
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 3
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 4
Take the test - Determine your real goal as a guitarist
For Love or Money
Want to Become a Professional Musician?…Start Here
The Pursuit of the Record Deal
How to Make the Right Contacts in the Music Industry
Need Help Starting A Successful Career In Music?
How To Prepare For Gigs And Make Your Live Shows Better

Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Become Professional Musicians
How To Get More People To Come To Your Live Shows

Guitar Practice & Motivation Articles

The 80/20 Law
Fire and Inspiration
Can YOU Really Become a Great Guitar Player?
Plans Are NOT Goals
Top Secrets of Common Sense - Part 1
Musical Frustration
Why aren't you a better guitarist?
Most of you are totally out of balance
Begin at the End
An Analysis of Effective Guitar Practice - Part 1
How to Avoid Musical Burn Out
Perseverance - It Will Make You Or Break You!
Are You An Unhappy Musician? - 10 Ways To Get Musical Pain Relief
Practicing Guitar: Self Discipline or Fun?
How To Practice Guitar With A Limited Amount Of Time
11 Damaging Mistakes Guitar Players Make and How To Avoid Them
Get More From Your Guitar Practice
How To Fix Common Guitar Practice Problems

Articles for Guitar Students

Choosing a Teacher
Do you really need a teacher?
Getting No Results From Taking Guitar Lessons?
Are You a Bad Student?...I was! - Part 1

Articles for Guitar Teachers

Why You Struggle To Get Guitar Students
Top 9 Mistakes Guitar Teachers Usually Make
5 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid When Teaching Beginning Guitar Students

Teaching Chords To Beginning Guitar Students
Improve Your Guitar Teaching - Part 1
How To Get Started Teaching Guitar

Articles for Developing Your Creativity

Creativity and Expression - Part 1
Creativity and Expression - Part 2
Express Yourself
How to Develop Your Own Style - Part 1
How to Develop Your Own Style - Part 2
The Pursuit of Artistic Greatness

Guitar Technique, Songwriting & Ear Training Articles

Vibrato Control
Developing your ear
Songwriting - Part 1
Songwriting - Part 2
How To Improve Your Guitar Technique: Part 1
How To Improve Your Guitar Technique: Part 2
How To Practice For Maximum Guitar Speed - Part 3
How To Play Guitar Fast

Lead Guitar and Improvisation Lessons

How To Make A Great Guitar Solo
Improve Your Lead Guitar Playing

© 2006 Tom Hess
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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