Following Your Own Artistic Path

Only the top 5%…

This post is part of The Renegade Musician Series.

The late, great author and radio speaker Earl Nightingale said:

Out of 100 people who reach retirement age at 65, four will be financially independent, one will be wealthy, and nine will be broke.

Only 5% of people will ever amount to anything on a financial scale. That is the cold, hard truth. And that was a long time ago. This stat has mostly been trending downward since Nightingale quoted it decades ago.

What made the difference? Why were the 5% successful?

Nightingale says the 5% followed their own path. They didn’t people please. They held to their own values and beliefs. They blazed their own trail.

Reality Transurfing author Vadim Zeland put it this way:

Do not watch how other people walk their path to success or try to keep up with them. Do not give in to the herd instinct. You have your own calling. The majority take the roads well-trodden but true success is achieved by the few who refuse to follow the rule “do as I do” and independently treat their own path.

First, you must know that you’re following your own path. Is music really it? I’m not saying it isn’t, but you must know that it is, and that can’t be a superficial “yeah, I guess so” kind of knowing. Either you karate do, “yes,” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” get squished like grape.

Second, you’ve got to follow your own path. That’s what’s going to make you interesting, noteworthy, remarkable. That’s what’s going to make you successful. Don’t rehash what’s already been done. Don’t try to replicate top 40 music. Be you. Identify what’s unique about you and draw it out in your music.

“Oh, but D.A., that Nightingale crap is old self-help stuff. It doesn’t apply to the life of a musician. Nightingale was speaking to people with stable jobs. People don’t have that anymore.”

You want to tussle? Okay, then wait until you read the next post…

Take advantage of The Most Incredible Back to School Sale while you still can.

Originally published at on September 29, 2022.



Music is creative, fun and fulfilling. But it’s also one of the most challenging businesses to succeed in. This is publication, you will find everything you need to scale your individual mountain in the music business.

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David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe


Award-winning composer, best-selling author, podcaster, musician coach. See what I’m up to now: