He’s an Indian composer, singer-songwriter and music producer.
In a notable two-decade long plus career, he’s been credited with redefining the contemporary Indian music film industry.
His body of work for film and stage has earned him the nickname as the Mozart of his industry.
He’s A.R. Rahman and here’s my take on his top 10 rules for success.
Rule number three is my personal favorite, and I’d love to know which one you guys like the best.
And as always, guys, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it down the comments below, put quotes around them as well so other people can be inspired.
Also, when you write it down you’re much more likely to lock it in for yourself as well. Enjoy.
A. R. Rahman’s Top 10 Rules Ror Success
1. Keep REDISCOVERING Yourself
2. Be pushed by fear
3. Find your own voice
4. Be your own harshest critic
5. Be bold
6. Do it with a full heart
7. Challenge yourself
8. Learn through travel
9. Be creative
10. Keep moving
* Don’t rush into judgment
* Be focused
Rule #1: Keep Rediscovering Yourself
What is modern is rediscovering yourself, rediscovering the way music is done is modern. I do love to embrace new technology and new ideas.
And especially like in the film, like Slum Dog, where Danny suggested am I someone in operation of music and everything. So it was like two cultures meeting in a way.
“When you go into that frame of just try to like something for what it is, not, you know, go take a lens and disrupt it and try and analyze it. So with this philosophy, I think I kept moving on for like eight years. Rediscovering myself.” – A. R. Rahman
Like some of the people who are very close-minded say oh what are they doing, it’s just noise. Rap is noise and heavy metal is noise.
So when you go into that frame of just try to like something for what it is, not, you know, go take a lens and disrupt it and try and analyze it. So with this philosophy, I think I kept moving on for like eight years. Rediscovering myself.
Rule #2: Be Pushed By Fear
Music has given me everything. Respect, Oscars, Grammys and you know, love and money and fame and everything. So I’m into it. I would rather sit in a room, do my music and pray and then sleep and that’s my kind of.
But it how pushed me to become this person, a founder of a Conservatory, is these incidents. And after you’ve become 40 you see that you’re hitting a wall.
You’re seeing that you’re going towards death. Which is the question which pushes many people to start doing many things because of the fear of not living.
I mean, I didn’t have a fear, but I was fearless because of that in a way. So even if I fail in this attempt of doing this music education thing, that’s fine. I’ve tried something nice and I’d failed.
Rule #3: Find Your Own Voice
Interviewer: Your success has been dramatic, obviously and coming from a city like Chennai, of course culturally very rich we are in our state of Tamil Nadu, but more importantly to be able to go global with that has been just quite awe-inspiring to be honest. And made all of us so proud here in Chennai. But if you look at young musicians today and what they are being offered, and the technology, it’s moved along as well. What would you say to them?
I think they have to find their own voice. They found their own inner voice. The moment we try to do somebody else’s we become mediocre. We want to be try, our limitations are sometimes our plusses.
So sometime that forces you to think in a way where there are many millions of ways to achieve a song, achieve greatness in art.
“All of us have limitations and we should not think it’s a limitation. So there’s something else which is there, a plus within you and then bring that out. And then you become totally different.” – A. R. Rahman
So you find a different way, you don’t have to, you know, a classic example is Kumar Gandharva, the classical singer. He had a lung problem or something like that so he couldn’t sustain his notes. If you listen to his rendering, he would just make everything short. ♫ Ah He wouldn’t like ♫ Ah.
He would never sustain it because of his breathing problem But that became a great style. You don’t have to copy that because his limitation became a style of what he could amazingly do when it was unique when he sang.
So I think all of us have limitations and we should not think it’s a limitation. So there’s something else which is there, a plus within you and then bring that out. And then you become totally different.
Rule #4: Be Your Own Harshest Critic
Interviewer: Surely in the past, you must have been criticized by people. And sometimes people say some really harsh things. How do you deal with that criticism and what advice will you give to other musicians out there facing that?
You have to elevate yourself to be the harshest critic. And when that comes so you supersede every other critic. And you become a better critic than everybody else.
You wouldn’t be bothered because the criticism which comes you’ve already done it to yourself and you can say, yeah, I know that, I’m working on it in your mind.
Rule #5: Be Bold
When there’s a tough situation in your life, consider this idea. Slow down your mind, detach yourself from sadness, and always be bold to walk the path.
You will certainly find relief, solutions, breakthrough ideas and extraordinary rewards. But do not expect them soon. They will come to you at the right time because if rewards come too soon, you will not be able to handle it and it could be a recipe for disaster.
Rule #6: Do It With A Full Heart
Interviewer: What is your advice and motivation for young people who want to pursue a career in music? With what amount of knowledge and content does one break through?
I feel whatever, first of all, you need to have a ear for music. You need to love beautiful stuff, then it becomes part of you.
Interviewer: That’s right.
“If you’re half-heartedly doing something and you don’t give enough time, it’s not worth it.” – A. R. Rahman
It’s even within spirituality or music’s the same thing, the more you start getting into something and then it becomes you.
So if you’re half-heartedly doing something and you don’t give enough time, it’s not worth it. And don’t even think about sustenance, nothing, and then just go and do it become a master of it people will come following you. And that’s the truth.
Rule #7: Challenge Yourself
Interviewer: You know, the pressure must be enormous, you know, oh, he’s won an Academy Award, the next time around you were nominated for 127 Hours, of course, but I mean what is that feeling like I mean it’s like, you know, when you win a major tournament and you come back the next year, everyone’s looking to say, oh, he’s going to win it again. Which is not the case, of course.
Yeah, for me, I think I made my mind realize that you know, two is enough for your lifetime. And if anything comes it’s a bonus.
And so your mind is not thinking about awards, it’s thinking about art. And so that’s a good thing I thought, and I’m slowly also becoming more familiar with visual stuff I’m trying to create concepts. Because after a point you have a monotony.
People in India, they have a format of music which is, give me five songs, give me six songs, I’ll make a movie. And then when you work within Broadway and Western and everything, you feel like how are these guys doing? They’re doing something different.
They’re going more deeper into what could be achieved, the marriage of both. So that forced me to, and these long flights too, LA from Dubai and Emirates.
I’ll be thinking of how do you take music to another sensible place. And it is very challenging, and putting a challenge on yourself. And you’re burdening yourself, but then it’s totally worth it. So I’m doing music videos now, trying to. It’s not an easy thing, but it’s keeping me engaged and I’m learning a lot.
Rule #8: Learn Through Travel
I cannot believe that it’s over 10 years since my music and me have been associated with Miami University. I’ve enjoyed collaborating with your students, your faculty, particularly from Team Global Rhythms and above all, every interaction has allowed for greater understanding, sensitivity and growth.
I feel humbled by the fact that so many students here from another culture have made my music part of their lives. Learning from this experience has allowed me to gain considerable confidence in starting my own Western Classical Conservatory in India.
“Keep an open mind, and be ready to receive things that come along the journey. So often, we have an opinion from someone or a place or a culture before heading to a destination.” – A. R. Rahman
Above all, there are several Miami students who have come over to assist me in making KM Music Conservatory grow in multiple ways, and they have grown themselves, learning from our culture back in South India. Learning through travel.
Keep an open mind, and be ready to receive things that come along the journey. So often, we have an opinion from someone or a place or a culture before heading to a destination. Each one of us are made differently. Sometimes there are many hidden truths of a place, that never reveal to us, that are never revealed to us ’til we experience it ourselves.
Rule #9: Be Creative
Interviewer: What for you today is the challenge. Is it the vary of repeating yourself?
Ultimately, it’s all the same.
Something is catchy, it reaches the public.
Something’s melodic, they recognize it. But how can you give it in different forms where they don’t feel like, oh, it’s the same thing for 20 years.
At the same time, you know, musically explore, even take an even more dangerous path. Let’s see what happens.
Rule #10: Keep Moving
I feel the thirst to learn is very, very important. Even now I feel like I’m not learn enough And when certain situations come in, I said, Oh my God, I should have learned music properly.
“When you learn something, it also rivets you to one kind of genre, where you’re specializing. For me, it was, I was always learning. So I was always moving from thing to another thing.” – A. R. Rahman
And I should have learned counterpoint properly. The speed is what gets affected. You can do anything, but then if you have a very strong mind and will, you can do anything, but at what speed can you do?
And also when you learn something, it also rivets you to one kind of genre, where you’re specializing. For me, it was, I was always learning. So I was always moving from thing to another thing. So whatever fascinated me, I kept moving. So my music was never rooted to one little thing, it had a, probably people say my style, but then I kept moving.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching. I made this video because Anushka asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I will see what I can do.
I’d also love to know what did you learn from this video that you’re going to immediately apply somehow to your life or your business? What was your favorite clip of the 10, and why? Please leave it in the comments below. I’m super-curious to find out.
Finally, I want to give a quick shout-out to Kalie and Bradley. Thank you guys so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and posting that picture. I really love it, it means a lot to me, I appreciate the support, and I hope you’re enjoying the read.
So thank you guys again for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
Don’t rush into judgment
Never rush into judgment. Especially about people. There always another side of the story, a good side. We must always find ways to see the beauty and value of a person or a place or an institution or an art form. And half the problems of each of us can be solved if people don’t rush into judgment.
It think, like in every profession, when you’re first learning to drive, you’re like, oh, I should keep my clutch ready, I should put my brakes. I mean after a point of time you just it’s so new an you know exactly, you’ll be doing multiple things and you’re driving. So music is something like that.
Once you learn the basics and you internalize it, and after a point of time it’s only whether you can connect to certain things and focus to certain things which they want.
Whether it’s a sad song and it’s spiritual music. Or then you get the technology out, and the technicality out and you just go to focus to what do you need to achieve. What are the combinations of organic material you need, like a voice or an instrument.
And what not to use, how much less it should be, and how much epic it should be. So all these balances and what kind of a tonality it should be. Like it’s sounding vintage sounding, modern sounding. And all these come as an instinctive thing. And the other difficulties gets past you.
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