Chris Boardman Music Blog: Monday Musings: Am I Good Enough?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Musings: Am I Good Enough?

Am I good enough? 

Whenever I hear this phrase I want to ask: “by what standard?”

The value of a person’s achievement can be rated in many ways...most often it is winners and losers with the glow of winning being the motivation for endless hours of hard work while the losers feel the shame and disappointment of defeat. 

Regardless whether you win or lose the race there will be another day, another challenge to face. And doesn’t this notion ignore the fact that the value of working towards a goal is what you learn about yourself along the way rather than the destination you are trying to reach? 

Am I good enough? 

What? To earn my praise? To earn my validation for your efforts? 
Being dependent upon the opinions of others forces us to take the safe and narrow path of least resistance and restricts us from attempting the truly risky for fear of being rejected. Who better to please but ourselves? Who better to judge our individual progress than ourselves?

All too often our artistic heroes  attract us by their sheer force of will and presence. And why is that? 

They don’t seem to care what others think about them. They just go their own way seemingly without regard to consequence or rejection. We find them irresistible and mysterious. Some call this charisma. I think of it as strength of character.

Are they (our artistic heroes) good enough?

Depends on who you ask. If you ask them they’d probably say rarely if at all. Despite their self-doubt and anxiety they push feed the master of their passion-their inner voice.

Most every great artist I have known will find inspiration not from the mind but from the soul. It is the connection to the inner voice that distinguishes the exceptional from the ordinary. 

They know the difference between mind and body. They have cultivated a relationship with their creative energy (one friend even gave it a name: “Shirley”). They have learned how to embrace their connection on command. They answer to their inner voice...not the adulation or admiration of others.

Finding your voice is not easy. But, the irony is that it is with you every minute of every day. We just find it hard to listen and accept.

Am I good enough? 

The only person who can answer that question is you. Are you listening?

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”


  1. A better question is "is this good enough for x?" where x is royalty free library music, premium library music, a professional film score, etc. Then you can give a reasoned reply like "the samples sound a bit fake but the harmony is good", or whatever.

    I think if someone asks if they are good enough they need to have THAT question answered. There's still SOME subjectivity but not much. I think that kind of reply is more helpful that "only you can answer that question". If someone told me that I'd say, well thanks but that doesn't help me much.

  2. Thanks for the comment.

    In my experience the moment the process goes from internal acknowledgement to external reward I've lost sight of what makes me unique. I've become just another guy doing what everyone else is doing. Personally that hasn't worked well for me.

    When working for hire we are asked to tap into that source to provide the service requested. No problem with that...I've done my fair share over the years. However, the reason I got the call in the first place was because of all of the study and internal work I'd done previously.

    The point of this article is to remind us that art comes from within and has its own rewards, that the journey is indeed internal.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Ah. I suppose I thought you meant new composers who might wonder if they are good enough. If you already have some success behind you then you are good enough :D

  4. Chris,
    Nice article. It's only been in the past few years that I have felt comfortable with "am I good enough" finally!

    1. Thanks Leland. I'm glad my thoughts resonated with you! :)