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How to Become a Pop Star

How to Become a Pop Star
Justin Popstar

    I was 16, good looking, and with a great voice: I could see myself walking on the red carpet, and success was just around the corner. Or so I thought…

    With my little band made up of two people and one very expensive laptop, I decided to find venues that would pay me to entertain their customers: “I’ll make lots of money, and a big shot music producer will surely notice me!”

    Five years later, I had earned next to nothing, and I had been noticed only by a tiny music label whose claim to glory was a half forgotten salsa hit.

    In the meantime, I had found myself a job to pay the bills, I was completing my degree, and I still spent lots of time working on my music projects. If only someone had told me what was about to happen…

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    In the winter of 1999, one of my songs suddenly became famous, and I found myself singing on Top Of The Pops, and playing gigs all over southern Europe.

    Then I discovered that the music business was not for me, but that’s another story…

    With hindsight, there were some strategies which helped me to succeed, and others which could have made my success faster: take a look at the list below and see if you can find useful tips to make your own dream come true.

    • Study right. There’s no escaping it: if you don’t study at all, it’s difficult to sing with an amazing voice, write unique songs, play an instrument like an angel, and dance like a devil. On the other hand, if you study too much, you run the risk of alienating yourself from the mainstream, becoming a virtuoso appreciated only by connoisseursof whatever style you are into.
    • Be optimistic. If you don’t believe in yourself nobody will.
    • Get yourself noticed. Big time producers don’t come to your local pub, but there are talent contests where you can meet them. Don’t think only of TV shows – those are way too competitive – focus on any contest in which there is someone in the jury who actually works in the music business.
    • Be realistic. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Well, in a way it does, but you still have to put a lot of hard work first, so you are ready when your lucky break happens.
    • Know your weaknesses. Let’s face it: the road to stardom isn’t an easy one, and we all have a weak spot. What’s yours?

      Age: If you are older than 30, you might have a hard time finding people willing to invest in your future as a pop star.

      Looks: We live in a beauty-obsessed society, if you don’t look good, music producers might think you won’t be able to attract a very large fan base.

      Voice : Let’s face it, there are thousands out there singing with a great voice, so how good is yours?

      Dance: You don’t have to be a ballerina, but an ability to move well on stage is important.

      Stage presence: Do you bring the house down when you are on stage, or do you simply stand there and sing?

      Songwriting: Ok, you have a great voice, but the reality is that if you are not writing your own songs – and great ones, too – you will be unprepared to face the competition of a thousand all-singing-all-dancing young talents.

      Style: Have you developed your own style in singing, song-writing, stage presence, and so forth, or are you merely copying your favorite singer?

    • Turn your weaknesses into strengths. Be prepared to”sell” your weak spots as part of what makes you unique. Half-serious examples below…

      Age: You are older than 30, and that’s just perfect because the songs you write talk about your many fascinating experiences, and are targeted toward an adult crowd.

      Looks: Pop stars all look the same. Your eccentric image will draw in millions.

      Voice: Traditionally-beautiful voices are a thing of the past, your voice has the power to express genuine emotions.

      Dance: If you don’t dance that well, staying almost still is an interesting option. In fact, moving too much isn’t cool.

      Stage presence: So you don’t attack the stage like a tiger… Well, you have a timid image which will appeal to man/woman wanting to protect you.

      Songwriting: You don’t write your own songs, so you can help a songwriter in making his work very popular.

      Style: [Let’s say your style is similar to Band X’s] If band X has made it, why shouldn’t you? Furthermore, you are taking Band X’s essence, making it yours, and taking it to a whole new place.

    • Networking, Networking, Networking. You can’t make it on your own. You’ll need help with your songwriting, you’ll need help turning a good song into an amazing demo, you’ll need help finding the right talent contest to participate in. You’ll need help finding venues to sing live, you’ll need help dealing with people trying to take advantage of you, and you’ll need help to improve your stage presence. So who’s gonna give you all of this help? Friends.

      Genuine friends are better, since they make life worth living and they can help a lot in time of trouble. But even superficial acquaintances can give you precious information. So don’t ever stop making new friends and stay in touch with your old ones.

      My biggest mistake as a teenager was thinking that networking is not important: “When I write an amazing song, and I sing it with a superb voice, then I will become famous and everyone will want to help me anyway.” The trouble is that to approach this ideal “near-perfection,” you’ll need lots of help from different people!

    • Don’t give up. It often takes a long time to get amazing results. Be prepared to wait for several years.
    • Be open to criticism, but don’t let anybody change you. Maybe you weren’t born a pop genius, but if you listen to the right advice you’ll soon become one. Protect yourself from mean criticism: it’s not worth your time. On the other hand, be prepared to listen when others give you constructive advice: it might hurt, but it is always worth it. Just remember: don’t ever let anybody change you.

    Disclaimer: Fame and Fortune will not radically increase the amount of happiness you experience in your daily life: look at Britney Spears! If you want to become lastingly happier, look somewhere else, too.

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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