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10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful

I have always been a proponent for music education, and thus am happy to see that more and more people are learning an instrument these days.

I myself became a drummer at around the age of 11, and have played ever since. I am no savant, but I can play just about anything (except perhaps the closing solo in the movie Whiplash).

As a result, I have always maintained that learning how to play an instrument is beneficial. I did not have any proof, I just had first hand experiences that proved that to be the case. Nowadays however, there is a mountain of evidence suggesting that music education is not only good for you, but nearly essential if you want to be successful in life.

What is it about musicians that gives them an edge over others? Read on.

1. They Are More Creative

Recent research has shown that many successful politicians, businessmen, and more were trained at a young age to be a musician of some kind. Whether it be of a piano, clarinet, or saxophone, it didn’t really matter.

What does matter is that these people credit their music education with making them more creative. Indeed, as Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) once stated, music allows you to “look beyond what currently exists and express yourself in a new way” (NYT).

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As a drummer, I can attest to that. So much of music is about creating something different, and breaking mental barriers. All of which necessarily bleeds into other aspects of your life.

2. Their Brains Develop Differently

As many studies have shown, playing an instrument tends to have a multitude of beneficial effects on the brain, many of which are especially visible in children.

Indeed, those who start from an early age (around 9 to 11) have “significantly more grey matter volume” within their heads (Parenting Science). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that musicians are smarter, it does demonstrate that their brains are making unique and interesting connections and associations that those who do not play instruments might lack.

3. They Connect With Others Better

Music is often thought of as a way to connect different cultures, ideas, and perspectives. Even when you are unfamiliar with a location, you can always use your ability to play music to get to know those around you, and establish connections that may have been impossible to create otherwise.

This can be a crucial skill to have in any number of professions, especially those that require you to immerse yourself in a location that you are unfamiliar with.

4. They Are Better At Math

I am not sure this one applies to me, but it has long been known that there is some kind of connection between math and music.

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This likely has to do with the fact that both deal with analyzing puzzles and finding patterns in order to find solutions. If you can get a sense of the ebb and flow of music and musical language, mathematical concepts should begin to make more sense. Being better at math is beneficial for a number of reasons, if only because so many new jobs in this day and age rely on that skill.

5. They Have A Better Sense Of Rhythm

As a drummer, I know how to keep time in a song and play to the beat. In life, I use those same skills to maintain some order in my schedule.

Additionally, when you are a musician, it is easier to get into the groove of things and accomplish repetitive tasks at a consistent rate. (It also helps with stuff like dancing!)

Thus, learning how to maintain a steady pace not only makes for a good musician, but a more productive and effective worker as well.

6. They Are Obsessive

Any musician, whether they be a novice or an expert, has to be just a little obsessive to cultivate their craft. Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook, stated that “musicians and top professionals share ‘the almost desperate need to dive deep'” (NYT).

To become proficient at playing music requires a lot of time and dedication. If you are willing to put effort into that, you will likely tackle other things with that same gusto.

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7. They Are More Likely To Have A Higher IQ

This is especially true if they started playing music at a young age, like say around 6 years old. Indeed, one study found that kids who took up an instrument around this age showed a greater increase in their IQ compared to those who did not (Science Net Links).

Suffice it to say, having more intelligence to work with than your peers is often crucial in gaining the upper hand.

8. They Process Speech More Efficiently

Becoming successful requires that you be a good listener, and musicians are groomed to acquire that skill early on in their development.

Indeed, research has shown that learning how to play music has a beneficial effect on the areas of your brain that process sounds — an effect that lasts even into old age (Washington Post).

Listening is an important skill to have, as the ability to make sense of speech and complicated strings of words and sentences is crucial to success.

9. They Are Conditioned To Work Hard For Results

While it isn’t always true that those who work hardest in life are the most successful, such is usually the case in regard to musicians.

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Indeed, one expert stated that an amazing thing about learning music is that “if you work hard enough, it does get better” (NYT).

Music thus conditions you to believe that working harder gets results, and while that may not always be true in everything, it does lead to you pushing yourself harder in order to see measurable improvements in all aspects of your life.

10. They Have More Self-Control

While you might think of musicians as loose cannons (certain rock stars come to mind), those cases aren’t typical.

Indeed, learning how to play an instrument and read music is an immensely difficult task when you first start out, and requires a lot of mental focus. And, once you are skilled at playing music, it takes both talent and self-control to keep rhythm, to maintain a beat, and to otherwise stay on the musical rails, so to speak.

Translate that ability to remain dedicated and focused on the task at hand to the real world, and it is easy to see why so many musicians end up being successful in other fields.

Do you play an instrument? Has it effected your life in a beneficial way? Comment below!

Featured photo credit: Snare Drum/Vladimir Morozov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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