Treat people nicely

treat people nicely

Today, on Musicians’ Corner, I’m going to emphasize something we all know already; treat people nicely, especially those you work with.

Why am I writing this?

Two days ago, I was talking with a very good friend of mine and it was that discussion that inspired me to write this. He talked about his former place of work, the experience he gained, the exposure he got and the lessons he learnt, but he lamented about his former boss’ attitude towards his creative ideas. Well, he left there and established his own company. Today, his former place of work seeks and pays for professional services from him. Towards the end of our discussion, he said to me, “Spirit, treat people nicely. If my former boss had treated me well, I would most likely still be working there, today.”

Case study of Hans Zimmer

Now, I know this is not the first time you have heard that statement or something similar, but I would like you to know that it is true. To succeed in your career (and I dare to say in life generally), you need others. The most successful musicians have always been the most collaborative ones. Recently, I watched a documentary on the great film composer, Hans Zimmer. Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films, including ‘The Lion King’, ‘The Pirates Of The Caribbean series’, The Dark Knight Trilogy, ‘Mission Impossible 2’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and many more. The Daily Telegraph ranks him in the list of Top 100 living Genuises. I could go on about his accomplishments, but that’s not what this article is about (you can google his name to find out more about him). I learnt from the documentary that Hans Zimmer has collaborated with a whole lot of  other musicians and composers in his musical compositions, some of them he met during the early years of his career and had maintained relationships with them for over 40 years.


In case you missed it: Invest in your gifts; don’t just live for the moment.

You can’t do everything yourself

Sometimes, we tend to only treat people nicely when we are currently benefitting from them, and we tend to forget people who we think we don’t need anymore. As musicians, especially, upcoming musicians, we are tempted to see other musicians as competition and then try to do everything ourselves rather than collaborate. But this kind of thinking/ attitude would not do anyone good in their career and certainly not in life. We all need other people to succeed in our careers and to work with people for a long time, we need to learn to value them more; treat people nicely.

Learn from Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer’s relationship with his music buddies for over four decades is a popular and contemporary example of the importance of valuing relationships with people around. Working with a variety of musicians (with different skills) over a long period of time and maintaining such relationships is one of his secrets of great success. He knew he could not do everything, so he collaborated with people who could do what he couldn’t in order to get things done. This is exactly what you should be doing as an upcoming musician. Find people who can do what you can’t and work with them. Collaboration is the key to moving forward as a musician in this competitive industry. If you rap, for example, and can’t sing, don’t try to sing the choruses in your songs by yourself, collaborate with a singer.

And while you collaborate with others, treat those people nicely. Don’t treat people as if they are tools to achieve your goals. They are not ‘just people’, you need them as much as they need you, so value them. Treat them with respect and as much as possible, maintain good relationship with them. You might need their help again in the future, so don’t just cut relationships for no reason. Remember, people are not ‘just people’; so treat them nicely.


Invest in your gifts; don’t just live for the moment

Invest in your gifts

Today, on Musicians’ Corner, I’m going to tell a story that is aimed at encouraging you to invest in your gifts. This story applies to me (and maybe even some of you reading this now) in many ways.

A man (let’s call him Mr. C) has a piece of land. He inherited the land from his dad, so he didn’t have to work for it.

He had a neighbour (let’s call him Mr. J), who was a lot older than him and well established. Mr. J had mango trees in his compound and since Mr. C loves mangoes a lot, he always visited Mr. J’s compound to pluck mangoes. Thankfully, Mr. J  always allowed him to pluck some mangoes whenever he came.

10 years down the line, Mr. J  died of old age. His children decided to sell his property since they had no intention of staying there. Someone else bought the property and moved in. However, since the new occupant didn’t know Mr. C, he never allowed him in to pluck mangoes as usual.

It was then that Mr. C realized what he should have done 10 years ago; he should have planted mango trees in his own piece of land and nurtured them to maturity while still enjoying the sweet mangoes from Mr. J. But he felt he was okay, as long as he got fresh mangoes from Mr. J, and now he can’t get mangoes anymore.


In this story, Mr. C represents people born with creative abilities (like you and I), his inherited piece of land represents the gifts/ talents/ abilities that we were born with, the mangoes represent money, comfort, physical property and other things we desire, finally, Mr. J represents our job or whatever gives us ‘mangoes’ at the moment.

Many of us, Creatives, are like Mr. C. Just because we get fresh mangoes from somewhere, we fail to plan for the future… We are never interested in any investment that would not yield immediate results for us. We just live for the moment. As long as we keep getting food to eat and clothes to wear, we are okay. And so rather than invest in your gifts now in such a way that it would yield results in the future, we prefer to continue living off whatever we are currently receiving. This is not a good way to live. Especially, since we all know that a time will come when we desire something much more than just monetary returns, when fulfillment becomes very important to us as well. And by the way, investing in your gifts does not stop whatever you do at the moment; both can be done concurrently. I wish someone had told me this when I was still in my twenties, but all hope is not lost. My friend, Joe, told me, “the best time to plant a tree was ten years ago. The next best time is right now.”

Please invest in your gifts today. It will not start yielding immediately, but in 10 years’ time (when you need it the most), it would have started yielding fruits for you to enjoy.

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