The DJ Game Of Chance
To make it as a DJ you need to get lady luck onside. Have you ever wondered why some people always seem to land on their feet? I bet some of these people you think of are DJs or performers of some sort.
But is luck just a random phenomenon? And if it isn’t then what can we do to be luckier?
Fortunately, a psychologist called Richard Wiseman has already answered the above questions for us. He dedicated 10 years of his life to attempt to scientifically uncover the “luck factor” by investigating the beliefs of lucky and unlucky people.
Wiseman did a number of experiments to try to uncover the secrets of being a lucky person. In one of them, he invited a mixed group of people who thought of themselves as being lucky or unlucky to meet him at a pub. For each person that went to meet Wiseman, he’d intentionally leave a £5 note on the floor just outside the pub – always in the same place.
The results are really interesting. The participants who claimed they were a lucky individual found the £5 notes, the ones who thought they were unlucky walked straight past them.
He did a number of other experiments which confirmed the same thing: our own perception of life really does have an influence on reality. For example, if your view on the world is that the planet is full of interesting people that can give you opportunities, you’ll find them. Equally, if you believe the world is full of dishonest people, you’ll also find them (not ideal).
Our mind works in a way that we’ll do whatever we can to find reassurances of what we believe. If we think someone is a liar, we’ll search for anything we can to reinforce this view about them. The opposite works in exactly the same way: if we think someone is caring we tend to notice all the things they do that match this description.
So how can you be luckier? Be more optimistic. Change your view of the world and start seeing it through rose-tinted glasses. If we believe there are good opportunities out there – soon enough they’ll be right in front of you.
I want to stress that as an aspiring DJ, you can’t rely on luck alone. Don’t ever fall into the mindset of relying on this to help you. You need to be ready to take the opportunities luck can bring with both hands – this is where preparation and work ethic comes in.
The “Matthew Effect”
If you’re reading this then the chances are you’re someone who’s willing to learn and better themselves – and therefore more likely to succeed.
I recently read a book that changed my way of thinking when it comes to success called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. He describes an “Outlier” as a person “out of the ordinary “who doesn’t fit into our normal understanding of achievement.” I believe you fall into this category.
The main thing I learnt from this book is that success is truly a game of chance and only partially in our control. We can build the foundations ourselves to succeed, but there are so many other factors out of our control that determine if it actually happens or not.
At first I found this hard to take. I personally don’t like the idea of not having complete control of my future, but reading this book explained to me that there are certain things I cannot control. See the example below…
In “Outliers” Gladwell looks at all of the birthdays of professional Canadian ice hockey players to see if there are any noticeable trends. He found that a huge amount of the pro players were born in January, February and March. Strangely, there were very few players born between October & December. He found that if you were born on January 1st, you had a significantly greater chance of making it as a professional ice hockey player. Gladwell continued analysing hockey players’ birthdays from other leagues too, which can be seen below.
Why does this trend happen? Because of “the Matthew effect”.
In the example above, “the Matthew effect” has happened because these hockey players were selected to play from a very young age (some just 4 years old). Interestingly, the difference in a child’s ability to play sport between someone who’s only just turned 4 and someone who’s 2 months away from 5 is really big. The latter child will likely be bigger, faster, stronger and have a significantly better mentality, at that time.
Because of this, they’re likely to get better coaching and training from a young age, whereas the younger child is more likely to be chosen to play a different sport. The better coaching the older child receives manifests itself eventually… they’re streets ahead of the younger child.
I know this is a book about sport and not music but there are some things we can learn from this and apply to making it as a DJ.
Firstly, what I learnt is to react properly when something doesn’t go your way, i.e. when a factor you cannot control works against us (in the above case your birthday – if you wanted to play hockey and it didn’t work out, blame your parents). This isn’t actually anything you can change, so get over it, pick yourself up and try again.
Once I realised this, it helped me become less frustrated with things and more focused on bouncing back. There will be countless times you have setbacks in music – probably more than any other, so you need to be thick-skinned. When this happens, think: was there anything I could have done better? If not, think of “the Matthew effect”, pick yourself back up and try again.
Secondly, what I learnt from this is if you do have an advantage over others – use it! Maybe you’ve been brought up listening to jazz music for example… surely it’d make sense to use elements of jazz in your own productions / DJ sets because of your knowledge of it. Or maybe you have a local college or school that offers tuition on music? This is an advantage you have over anyone else so get involved.
The cliche of ‘make your own luck’ has actually been proven to be true. Do not forget how important this is in the quest to make it as a DJ!