Why You Want To Be The Small Fish In A Big Pond

2014 May 26, 2014

If you’re the most talented audio engineer or musician that you know, you’ve got a big problem. That is, unless you’re OK with staying stagnant in your craft and never getting much better.

If you currently are the biggest fish in a small pond (i.e. the best engineer in your circle of friends) then it’s time for an intervention. You need to move to a bigger pond and learn to be the smallest fish around.


Via Kumar’s Edit Flickr

The Simple Hack To Massive Growth

If you’re like me, you want to become a better recording and mixing engineer. You want to churn out radio ready tracks that sound every bit as professional as the best out there.

And you can, over time.

But somewhere along the way, after we see some improvement in our recordings and get really excited about our growth, we get comfortable. Comfortable with our skill level as compared to others.
This is a dangerous spot. It’s what many have dubbed the “big fish, small pond” syndrome.

You might be pretty good, but only compared to beginners or others who are less talented than you. And while that might stroke your ego, it won’t help you grow.

In fact, there is one absolutely simple way to grow. It’s a hack, because you don’t have to DO anything.

In fact, all that needs to take place is a shift of what audio circles you run in.

No, I’m not saying you need to abandon your friends. But rather you need to have a new “standard” of audio engineer or producer (or musician, etc) that you mingle with and compare yourself to.

You want to move to a much bigger “pond.” One in which your skill and talent makes you seem like the smallest fish by comparison.

It’s a humbling experience, but a funny thing happens when you do this: you get better. Almost without even trying.

Applicable To All Aspects Of Life

This fish/pond analogy holds true in just about every area of life that you need growth in.

Want to be a more patient and loving husband/father? Hang around other men who you think are more legit husbands and dads than you. No they aren’t perfect, but you’ll more than likely grow to be a lot more like them.

Want to be a better student? Stop hanging around people who never study or do well on exams. Instead find people who are smarter than you, more hard working than you, and getting better grades than you. You’ll mysteriously improve in your studies over time.

My Recent New York Trip Is Proof Of This

Recently I took a quick trip to New York City to be interviewed by one of my business mentors, Ramit Sethi. He’s been a blogger for over 10 years now and has grown his little site into a multimillion dollar business.

He has a ton of great business and entrepreneurial training information that has helped me big time in recent months.

After a few years of starting The Recording Revolution and being blessed with a great following of loyal fans and students, I realized that I needed to learn how to be a better content provider, educator, and business man.

So I started looking around to others who were much further along than I was and began learning from them. Ramit was one of those guys.

Sure seeing what he’s been able to accomplish, and how smartly he runs his business can make me feel bad about myself in comparison, but I don’t think like that.

Rather, I see it as a learning opportunity. And without even noticing it, I’ve grown a lot just be “swimming” in a much bigger pond than I used to.

Identify Your New Pond And Make The Move

Maybe you’ve been hanging around (either in person or virtually) people who are as talented or less talented than you. It’s time to find a bigger pond and make the move.

You don’t need to abandon your friends, just make sure you swim in a bigger pond than just the one you’re currently in. In fact you might be able to bring some of them along with you. How cool would that be?!

Perhaps, your pond is so small that you are the only fish in it.

You work in total isolation, with no real community to speak into your life musically and spur you on to greater achievement and growth.

If that’s you, then take advantage of a community like this one. Comment on the posts. Answer others questions. Spend more time on the Facebook page.

Or join Dueling Mixes and take advantage of the private forum and community there.

Just do SOMETHING to start swimming in a bigger pond than you currently do.

Where Do You Want To See Growth?

So the question I have for you is this: as you’ve been reading this post, what area of your craft (or life) do you want to see the most growth in?

It might be recording, mixing, songwriting, performing, business, whatever.

And second question: can you think of a newer, bigger pond you can go swim in? Leave your answers below!

It will be scary, but if you want growth, it’s the only way I know to ensure it happens.

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