Ya Gotta Luv It

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Positive Reinforcement

Is there ever a time when encouraging someone or telling them everything is going to be alright, is a harmful thing to do?  Many an Army corpsman has told a dying soldier he was going to make it and he wasn’t hurt that bad, only to see him take his last breathe a minute later. 


Telling someone they are talented and that they can sing or play a musical instrument as good as anyone signed to a recording contract may seem innocent enough.  Some may even argue that it doesn’t do any harm to encourage someone and the positive reinforcement is better than discouraging them. 

I was fortunate enough to have many people tell me over and over again to peruse a musical career because I was in their opinion, “Good enough to make it.”  It wasn’t until I got turned down by every record label in Nashville that I realized it didn’t matter what my family and friends thought of my singing because none of that mattered when it came to getting a recording contract.  Several years went by and I often wondered why so many people loved my singing and yet when it came to getting a record deal, it was not meant to be. 


I finally got up the nerve to ask my song writer friend who paid for my demo recording session why he thought I never was offered a recording contract.  He very hesitantly said I can only tell you what they told me.  He paused and very clearly and slowly said they told me, “You are not pretty enough.” 

Finally I could put to rest my doubts that I couldn’t sing well enough to compete.  All those years I thought my family and friends were only fooling me by telling me how talented I was.  I never even thought in my mind that it was my face that held me back from being marketed and distributed as a Country Music Star. 


In some ways I think of this life experience in a strange way as similar to when a child is never told he or she was adopted.  In the child’s mind the only mom and dad they knew was the man and woman they called Mom and Dad.  All of the positive reinforcement they received from Mom and Dad certainly never hurt them in any way and yet when they find out as an adult they were never told they were adopted they feel hurt and want to know why they were never told the truth. 


All of these things in this article are merely thoughts concerning encouraging someone and keeping from them some hidden truth (at least from your perspective)  that you don’t want  to  tell them.  Is it  right or wrong? Is it really positive or negative?  Will the truth inspire or defeat?   One can never know even if the questioner really wants the truth.     

Keith Bradford“Ya Gotta Luv It”

The Music Business