Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Naysayers: Three Kinds of Pessimism

Whenever we attempt something new, whether it be a new job, a new project, or perhaps a new musical direction, we’re likely to encounter some well-meaning soul telling you “No, you can’t,” also known as the naysayer. I’m here to tell you that you might not be able to always avoid them, but you can learn how to identify them and how to deal with them

There are basically three categories of naysayers. Each possessing three levels of pessimism.

  1. Family naysayers 
  2. Destructive naysayers 
  3. Constructive naysayers 

Family naysayers:
With family naysayers, they don’t wish you harm, they just want you to be safe. They want you to have a steady job, a family, benefits, the whole nine yards. They want you to follow a rule book; however, you’re looking to follow a vision for which you have to make up the rules as you go along. We’ve heard that art and finance don’t mix. And neither do art and family approval. 

In dealing with family, I say this: love them, respect them, but ignore them. They may not get what you do, and they may not be able to get what you do. And you don’t need them to. Their function in your life is TLC, not career support..

Destructive naysayers: Avoid these types at all costs. They thrive on negativity, and they absolutely love company. Under no circumstances are you to share your ideas or plans with them. Chances are they will only greet them with negativity and cynicism. As with the former, respect them, love them, but avoid them, and certainly don’t listen to or become influenced by them.

Constructive naysayers: This group is the most complicated. Because they get what you do, they support what you do, but they’re not convinced that you are making the right decision. They might be in support of you being a professional musician, but maybe they think you should major in accounting as a backup plan. For this group, I say this: embrace them, listen to them, maybe even implement some of their suggestions. You might even revisit your original idea to see if this is something you really want to do. This will help solidify it in your mind and give you the assurance that you are indeed making the right decision.

So as you pursue your new idea, project, or vision, just realize what you might be up against and go for it!

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