One of the most important pieces of wisdom ever passed on to me is to ďKnow Thyself,Ē or if weí not being Shakespeare about the shit, Know Yourself. This is another simple concept but itís so important, to all of us, and to everything we do in life and isnít something that only philosophers need to know. Whether you intend to be a successful artist, manager, beat-maker, label owner, or engineer, you need to know yourself.
Why, you might be wondering, is this so important. Well, look at it this way. Weíre all individuals, yes weíre all interconnected in some way if you want to be spiritual and Jesus about it, but weíre all made different. We all like different things, have different strengths and weaknesses, have different setbacks and challenges. These are the things that come together to make us who we are. These aspects of ourselves can and do affect how we act, what job is best for us, and how we work.
Take me for example, because I know a little bit about myself, I know that I canít learn in the traditional way. Iím just not build for that, and though Iím pretty smart, sometimes Iím convinced Iím one of the smartest, most impactful person of all time (Kanye Voice), I canít really express that in traditional schools. I just canít focus well, and I hate it when people tell me what to do. Iíd rather be on my own and learn at my own pace, and when I do that, I tend to get very good at things. Knowing this, Iíve made sure to set myself up, so that most of the times I can just go out and learn it myself. Sure sometimes I have to sacrifice that and thatís fine, but I know that overall if I want real success, this is how I will have to work most of the time.
So because I know this aspect about myself, Iíve learned where to place myself when it comes to learning so that I achieve success. Itís most likely something different for you, but the concept is still the same. As an artist you need to know what you can and canít do. If you know you sound like shit without a heavy abundance of auto tune, donít try to sing without it, or at the very least get singing lessons. If you know that youíre really good at writing punchlines, than try to incorporate that more into your music and experiment with it. If you know that, as an engineer you still struggle with the concept of compression and what the relation between the makeup gain and threshold are, than you need to focus on that.
All these things matter in the long run, and when youíre constantly examining yourself, what you did wrong, what you could do right, or what you could do even better, this is what leads to success and greatness, and what leads to all that you wish and more. So remember yaíll, Know Yourself, and you have won half the battle.