Why Things Always Go Wrong: You Can’t Predict the Future

The Ubiquitous To-Do List

The problem lies not with the technology itself but the utilization of the technology. It’s fine to make lists of all the things you want to do and all of the steps needed to get there, but what is it that motivates you to get all of these things done? The problem with any undertaking is that things will invariably go wrong: or at least not according to plans. The reason for this is 'variables'. In life there are just way too many variables to predict what’s going to happen from one moment to the next. So what has this got to do with my plans? Well when you make plans if one way you are predicting what’s going to happen in the future. For example, you decide that you’re going to bring in a guitarist to play on your demo. That one thing could lead into any number of directions. Do you have one in mind? What happens if he can't make it or it doesn't work out? What happens if he suddenly has to leave town? You get the idea.

Once you start trying to get things done on your list, a couple of things are going to happen. You going to have some setbacks, have some troubles staying motivated, get discouraged and sometimes just want to quit and give it all up.

How Do You Work?

So you've decided on a major project and have started to put together a list of all of the things that you have to do to reach your goal. If you’re new to the process, then there’s a huge variable right off the bat. I think we can agree at this point that once you start a new project, there’s going to be a lot of things come up that are unexpected and not on your list. So right from the start, the list is going to be a work in progress that’s going to have to be updated on a regular basis. Using the guitarist example from above, if for some reason he becomes unavailable, you’re going to have to make up a new list to include finding a new guitar player or learning the parts yourself or…you get the idea.

The basic point here is that one of the reasons why projects don’t get done is because of the inevitability that things aren’t going to go as planned. The problem that sometimes when things go smoothly, we naturally assume that that’s the way things are supposed to be and when things go ‘wrong’ then something is off. As we’ve seen from the example above, the chances of things going off course are far more likely than things going exactly as planned. So when you start a project and things go wrong, it takes more energy than you thought that it would and adds extra stress to the project. One of the great things about experience is once you’ve been through a certain process, you’re more likely to know what may go wrong and are equipped to deal with it effectively. When building a house for example, a professional is aware of all of the things that can go wrong where a novice would probably get frustrated and quit before the process is even finished. So not only do you have to deal with all of things that can go wrong, you can’t give up or lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.

Building A Career

This is where the musician comes in. The musician starting out is like the novice trying to build the house from scratch. And like building a house, a lot of projects that you may have to undertake are big and demanding; putting together a band, creating a demo, putting together a tour, etc. There are tons of variables like: all of the people involved (band personnel, agents, friends, club owners, studio people, etc.) and the fact that most of these things can take up to a year to accomplish. No small feat even for an organized person. Not only does this apply to the projects that a musician must take on but it applies to his/her whole career!