Catching The Luck Bus

There is no getting around it: success as a songwriter requires luck. It is the X factor, the big mystery, the leap of faith. Thinking about it can make you feel helpless, as if your success or failure is in someone else’s hands. But take heart, my songwriting brothers and sisters - this is only half true.

The Luck Bus
Luck is the bus that sits at the intersection of Preparation and Opportunity. If I were giving someone directions to catch the Luck Bus, they would go something like this: Head north on Preparation. Keep going straight until you reach Opportunity. Right on the corner you will see a big yellow bus. Don’t waste time…get on it immediately, before it drives away.

Here is a list of helpful tips as you prepare for your ride:

Carry a map, and know where you want to go.
The power of goal setting is real, when done right. Goals that are not written down and measurable are just wishes. I am convinced that when you purposefully set goals your subconscious mind will find opportunities you may not have recognized otherwise.

Buy your bus tokens ahead of time.
Be prepared. Work hard at your craft. Write every day. Have demos ready to go. Carry business cards. Have your songs posted where people can find them. Participate in online songwriting forums and attend songwriting workshops and clubs. Show up to the bus without these things and you will not be allowed to board.

Help other people find the bus.
I dislike the term “networking” because it implies that you are collecting “friends” to accomplish some selfish objective of your own. Instead, work on building long-term, expectation-free relationships with people. Don’t ask for or expect anything from them but their friendship. Never approach them with ulterior motives. Instead of looking to other people for the things you want, look for ways to give them what they want. When someone does help you out in some way, acknowledge it, and pay it forward.

Count on the bus to be there.
Be positive. Positivity attracts people and opportunities. Don’t be arrogant, but don’t be too humble either. Have confidence in yourself and your songs, and be ready to promote yourself when it is tactful to do so. Accept criticism - even harsh, rude criticism - gracefully. Be fiercely passionate about what you do, and make decisions as if success were a foregone conclusion.

Play chicken with the bus.
Many people won’t board the bus because they are afraid to take risks. Calculated risks are essential to learning, success, and luck. Don’t let fear of the unknown or feelings of inadequacy keep you from taking advantage of opportunities that come your way. Make decisions thoughtfully, but quickly, and when you see the bus, run for it!

Have your transfer ready.
One bus almost never takes you exactly where you want to go. Be ready to catch multiple buses to keep moving in the right direction, or to switch buses if you get off track. Remember: the bus is luck, not success. Once it has dropped you off at your destination you will quickly realize you're at just another street corner. Make the choice to keep moving forward, from wherever you find yourself. Start heading north on Preparation again, until you reach Opportunity.

Enjoy the ride.
Take in the view, and get to know the people around you. Buses stop often, and are prone to breakdowns. If you lose your ride, be thankful you have your transfer ready, and that you helped as many friends onto the bus as you could…they will be your best bet for catching another ride. Go back to Preparation and head north, collecting more friends as you go.

Get Creative
As artists we pride ourselves on being creative thinkers. In order to succeed, we need to apply some of that creative thought to finding ways to get lucky. People are often at their most creative when faced with limitations. Feeling that your success is at the mercy of others is a position of weakness. Recognizing that you need other people, and gathering them around you as you head north on Preparation lets you approach the Luck Bus from position of strength.

Time to get lucky.

Photo by hz536n


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