Take The Test

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

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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.

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

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

03. 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)

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

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

06. 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.

07. 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.

08. When you have that final answer, THIS IS WHAT YOU DESIRE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. THIS IS YOUR TRUE GOAL.

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:

01. Question: Write down your goals or things you want to achieve. Answer: I want to be wealthy.

02. 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.

03. 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.

04. 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!

05. 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.

01. 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.

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

03. 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.

04. 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 bestreally.

For further study on developing a career in the music industry click here.

See Tom Hess on the HolyHell world tour in 2006/2007. Tour dates posted here.

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

73 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Thin-Lizzy
    Cool, now I can see that happiness is what i want in life most of all, which makes a lot of sense...
    SLD.Potato
    You guys who criticize, you don't think much, do you? This was a big eye-opener for me.
    bigpawz
    I took the test and it said I want to become a professional Indian Leg Wrestler. What did I do wrong? Does this mean I should hang up my plans to become a rock star? Anyway, my quote is, "I am not mean, I just mean what I say"
    yamoon_tak
    to all u stupid perks complainin, i answered all the questions n it leads to "i must spend more time with ur mothers!!!", if u dont f***in like the article, dont read it, n dont post ur stupid f***ed up posts sayin "i hate this guy", we dont wonna see u complain like whimps, complainin is for *****s!!!! the guy here did a wonderful thing, he worked hard, n gave us this article for "free", n u just start criticisin?? well, buddy thanx alot, it didnt help me that much, but thanx, good to see good people like u tryin to help us(musicians) out!!! so losers, back to u, u shud be grateful, not f***ful for this guy!! the music industry doesnt need people like u, so better stop playin before u f*** urselves up, cheers! rot in peace!!!
    DigUpHerBones
    I liked it, but I still think my first statement 'be virtuso' is related to my last answer 'freedom'.
    ESPguy981
    Tedward : i want people to think 'wow i knew that kid in high school, and look at the great music him and his band are making' lol same here kinda
    RuleBreaker
    this was a great articel. it realy opened my eyes as to what i realy wanted in a music career and in life. this helped my a lot. thanks tom
    Darken Rahl
    Obelisk wrote: I nice thought but, obviously this is intended mainly for those who wish to pursue a musical career. Those of you people flipping out at the offer should think about what he's saying. Chances are, he's not really talking to you. Personally, I don't want to be a professionaly musician, so this didn't really get me anywhere. Like someone said before, if you don't want to make music your job, it really just boils down to hapiness and fulfillment.
    How does not figuring out your values in life not get you anywhere? All of you people who say that this isn't helping them is basically not helping them. They are in denial saying that this can't help them but if they gave it a real go it would.
    Tedward
    i want people to think 'wow i knew that kid in high school, and look at the great music him and his band are making'
    Obelisk
    I nice thought but, obviously this is intended mainly for those who wish to pursue a musical career. Those of you people flipping out at the offer should think about what he's saying. Chances are, he's not really talking to you. Personally, I don't want to be a professionaly musician, so this didn't really get me anywhere. Like someone said before, if you don't want to make music your job, it really just boils down to hapiness and fulfillment.
    Nick Layton
    I thought this article was very useful.....but it requires you to think! That's a good thing. Thanks Tom
    ohmerrymayhem
    Arent the things he mentioned universal wants? Who doesn't wanna be free of worry and have good stability for them and their loved ones? Shit, don't we play guitar/ write music becuase it's what we love to do? All this life plannin doesn't mean squat anyway. The world'll do what the world does, whether it agrees with your life plan or not. Live your life, love your music, rock on.
    Nybb
    Strat_Monkey : Oh, Tom Hess again... Am I the only one who doesn't like this guy?
    I particularly love all the little advertisements he throws in for his own products/services, as well as how he always manages to toot his own horn about his guitar skills. Not to mention his extremely not-annoying Dr. Phil attitude.
    Darken Rahl
    gtr-boy wrote: this article is stupid if u want to become a great and wealthy musician get off the computer and get playing ur guitar not writing down ur goals and wishing and hoping it will happen
    How do you know that you want to be that until you first figure out your goals. Your not going to go anywhere in life unless you know what you want to do. And even if you guys don't agree with this "Dr. Phil bullshi" it has a reason.
    Darken Rahl
    ohmerrymayhem wrote: Arent the things he mentioned universal wants? Who doesn't wanna be free of worry and have good stability for them and their loved ones? Shit, don't we play guitar/ write music becuase it's what we love to do? All this life plannin doesn't mean squat anyway. The world'll do what the world does, whether it agrees with your life plan or not. Live your life, love your music, rock on.
    The world will do what the world does, but if you really want it there is always an opportunity to get it. Like Bill Gates once said," The world isn't fair-- deal with it." It still doesn't have anything to do with your choices. If you wanted to make 100k a year and you went to school for it, you COULD make 100k a year. The world gives you all the opportunities that you need. But is that really what you want in life? To have to work your ass off and never have time for yourself or others? Or would you rather make half of that and be able to experience the things that really matter to you. Being able to drive a Mercedes and wearing a suit doesn't mean jack shit unless its what makes you happy.
    captainjackass
    i think what hes really talking about, is guitar the best way to reach your goal? like in the example, he wanted to spend more time with loved ones, and to do that he needed to become wealthy. is there a better way to get rich, or spend more time with loved ones?
    CLaSH88
    ZZZZZzzZZZZZzz Opps i accidently fell asleep and hit the z key with my nose..... this guy needs to get off his horse and walk a little
    Sanitarium91
    Strat_Monkey wrote: Oh, Tom Hess again... Am I the only one who doesn't like this guy? What EVERYONE wants is freedom, happiness and a feeling of security that suggests the freedom and happiness won't go away. Does this tell us anything new? Stop it with your wishy-washy, Yankee life-goal psychology stuff.
    I agree
    wildchild6660
    hell i just wanna rock out. and see the crowd headbangin to my music. dont see that in the near future i'm afraid
    Damonrf
    This has quite opened my eyes, actually! I thought all I wanted was being able to live on the road and play shows every night, but I realize now that, that would indeed give me the happiness through living my dream. I'm glad money/wealth wasn't any of my answers. It's made me realize even more what I want out of my life! Thankyou
    uvq
    he says dont listen to those who havent been in the music industry.. but my dad tells me things that he has heard from people in the music industry... i think that was the other one but so haha
    uvq
    Tedward wrote: i want people to think 'wow i knew that kid in high school, and look at the great music him and his band are making'
    yeah haha
    leony03
    This test doesnt just have to do with music even though he says so. u can use it for naything. say u want to be a proffesional bus driver. it would still wrk. for all the people commplaining shut the hell up. if u hv a better way of workin out ur goals, then post it and we will comment on u
    royrocks26
    the_zero is right though. You can be opptimistic all you want, and try your best to realize, and achieve your goals, but no one's ever honestly, completely and truly happy, or fufilled in life. We'll always want more, it's our greedy nature, and there's no simple test we can take to change the fact that we'll never be fully satisfied with ourselves. *shrugs*
    Darken Rahl
    bigpawz wrote: I took the test and it said I want to become a professional Indian Leg Wrestler. What did I do wrong? Does this mean I should hang up my plans to become a rock star? Anyway, my quote is, "I am not mean, I just mean what I say"
    First off, that test didn't say anything that you didn't write down. Secondly it doesn't mean that you SHOULD do anything, its a guide not a F**king "Life life by this" It's an assesment of what you want and value, so just because you don't agree with it doesn't actually mean anything. You don't even have to pay any attention to it at all.
    Danis1
    the_zero wrote: wait won't this all just boil down to happiness or a fulfilled life? things like that don't seem like they're one-time achievements. if they were, what would we be like once we reached this Tony Robbins-esque nirvana? would we be content lumpy sacks of flesh, grinning with one another, laying on the ground without motivation for anything further as we've already achieved the ultimate goal? concrete goals are dandy and i think this test might be more effective if you project a shorter forcast, limiting yourself to like 3 or 4 of these "what then" questions
    DUUUUUDE!!! didnt tom say dont read another word if your pessimistic?
    ECB
    I thought it was a great article. It really got me to look more inwards at myself and what I really wanted, and I've been able to figure out my goals. Sometimes on the ways to your main goal, you get sidetracked and end up going the wrong way. This got me thinking and now I'm working on getting back on track to my main goal. Great article, thanks Tom
    Mexp16
    That was amazing, thanks a lot! Great exersice, i will be recomending this to my friends and band members!
    sheepboy135
    Thank you man. Before, i was just working to get better and i had no idea why. I knew i wanted a music career, but i didnt know if it was for the money, the glory, or for the love of music. But now i know that this is what im supposed to do. Thank you.
    Darken Rahl
    Amroth wrote: I don't like him either after reading this. I just want to play my guitar not plan a "Road to glory" thingy.
    You don't like him because you just want to play guitar, not figure out WHY you want to play the guitar? So you don't really care what values you have in life as long as you play guitar? You don't care where you are at skill wise playing the guitar in a few years? You don't care about goals or... where you want to be?
    Darken Rahl
    P.L.U.C.K. wrote: I am a pessimist, so I didnt read another word of this.
    So then why did you spend the time to leave a comment about it?
    lost_it_again
    hmmmm i found that what i really wanted deep down, and my method of getting there(my first goal) were the exact same thing, to get more enjoyment out of music.
    dcoyle4040
    electric7 wrote: Mr. ChordMonger, if your here to critize, then why dont you write something meaningful. ok? good. this was great. it truely made me understand more of why i want to play the guitar.
    Ok then wyou should quit guitar to spend more time with your family!???
    ChordMonger
    cut the uplifting dr.phil bullshit. you write drivel that should be universally understood already.
    highjack
    Strat_Monkey wrote: Oh, Tom Hess again... Am I the only one who doesn't like this guy? What EVERYONE wants is freedom, happiness and a feeling of security that suggests the freedom and happiness won't go away. Does this tell us anything new? Stop it with your wishy-washy, Yankee life-goal psychology stuff.
    well said, sir. well said.
    ~AdNy
    its a great article, well written and founded on solid ground, but not for everyone. i personally would rather go where my path leads, instead of forcing myself to a place i think i want. maybe its not the best approach, but hell, i prefer it over logical reasoning.
    kyle5000
    It is incredibly insightful if not a little melodramatic. Overall kept me reading I guess.
    Amroth
    I don't like him either after reading this. I just want to play my guitar not plan a "Road to glory" thingy.
    Strat_Monkey
    Oh, Tom Hess again... Am I the only one who doesn't like this guy? What EVERYONE wants is freedom, happiness and a feeling of security that suggests the freedom and happiness won't go away. Does this tell us anything new? Stop it with your wishy-washy, Yankee life-goal psychology stuff.