Thursday, July 14, 2011

What I Know...

What I know is: it doesn't matter how much technique and method you acquire, if you don't understand the basics of attitude and belief. Technique and method won't make you a great parent… runner… engineer… musician… mathematician… artist… driver… or actor.

It takes more than technique and oftentimes, less.

What I know is: the people with the credentials more often than not don't understand what they're talking about. In some cases, they make great encyclopedias, but even then they can be dated like the World Book set that sat on your shelf since you were a kid.

What I know is: to be great at something begins with loving it. Love the doing of it and not the side-effects of doing. This is a point of confusion for many. To love being a Rock Star is different than loving to play music. To love making money is different than loving to be rich. To love being with your partner is different than loving having a great partner. To be great, love the being and doing part.

What I know is: the amount of effort has little to do with results. Sometimes, the amount of effort is inversely proportional to results.

As Iris and I passed an early morning cyclist pedaling his way along the beach towards Sandy Hook, I guessed that he must ride a lot and that he must ride quite fast. His muscle structure was that of a cyclist: thighs and hamstrings that were disproportionally large; calves that flexed like the cables of a suspension bridge; lean upper body with a chest that expanded and contracted in a way that belied extreme lung capacity.

I also noticed from his technique that he doesn't pay attention (or perhaps ever think about) riding well. As he hammered the pedals, his weight shifted from side to side. Tracing his path from above, you would not have seen a clean straight line, but instead, something that looked more like a sine-wave. His shoulders bobbed up and down. His motion was awkward and inefficient. He was a strong rider, but not a great rider.

What I know is: there's always another way. The question is never one of "if", it's always one of "how". This belief goes hand-in-hand with Jonathan's, "How hard could it be?"

Why? Because adopting the "How hard could it be?" belief works only until you hit the first dead-end. At that point, you can register an answer, "too hard", or you can determine that there must be another way. We tend not to see the possibilities because we get wrapped up in the approaches we've chosen and forget our intended goals. When we run into roadblocks or dead ends, rather than seeking alternate routes, we lament our chosen route being closed.

What I know is: disappointment is a waste of time.

What I know is: if you decide anything is doable and you're open to alternatives, you can accomplish miracles.

Iris began playing drums about four weeks ago. On Sunday, she played her first public gig. Not just a couple of songs, but an entire evening as the drummer for our band, No Room for Jello. Not as an amateur, but with the rock-solid time and energy of a seasoned professional. Not only did she drum, but she also sang. Not only did she sing and drum, but she sang better drumming than she did not drumming.

How'd she do that? I'm sure Iris has her own list, but here's what I observed.
  1. Iris focused on what she needed to know to play the gig, not on all the things she didn't know.
  2. She didn't waste time by learning things the wrong way and then unlearning them. For example, from the first day, she began practicing with a metronome. Everything she learned to play, she learned to play in perfect time.
  3. She played for hours on end.
  4. She loved playing and took delight in every little advancement.
  5. She didn't entertain the question of whether or not she could do it. Whenever something didn't come easily, she'd stop and ask herself "why?" She'd regroup and try again.
  6. She unabashedly presumed to rock the joint.
Some might say that it worked because Iris is different, special. She is. But that has nothing to do with whether or not her approach would work for anyone else.

What I know is: There are many more things that you can accomplish than you believe possible. That you are stronger and smarter than you think. That there's no one but you to unlock your potential. That the best way to help others unlock their's is to start with your own.

Happy Thursday,

1 comment:

  1. You have been unfurling many masterpieces lately, my friend; this is one of them. Thank you.


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