When Paul McCartney was writing “Hey Jude,” he played it in half-finished form for John Lennon. When he got to the line, “The movement you need is on your shoulder,” he leaned over to John and mouthed, “I’ll change that bit.”
“You won’t, you know,” said John. John felt those were some of the best lyrics in the song.
As writers, singers, creative people, so often we’re quick to point out what’s wrong with our own work.
We see with painful clarity where it fails, why it fails, and how short it falls of our standards.
It’s true, that if we want to get good, we have to push ourselves. That process involves a lot of study, practice, and honest reflection. We have to learn to see where we’re weak, and work to improve those areas. It’s part of the challenge, and the joy, of developing your craft.
But sometimes, what we need is the opposite.
Rather than learning to see what’s wrong with our work, we need to learn to see what’s right about it.
That’s what John saw that Paul didn’t.
The line stayed in the song. “Hey Jude” was released in 1968 and went on to become one of the most famous songs of all time. It broke numerous chart records, sold millions of copies, and was The Beatles’ longest running number one single in the United States.
By all means, learn to develop yourself. But learn to trust yourself too.