Today’s Tip – Attaining Mastery;
Guest Blogger: Dan Sorber
(Guitarist for the metal band “Thy Kingdom Gone” and an instructor based out of New Jersey)
I’d like to thank Tom for giving me the opportunity to write for you. Anytime you guys need something like this, I am game!
“The only opponent is within” Let this quote sit in the back of your mind as you read this blog.
Whether you are a guitarist, an actor or an athlete… being called a “master” is one of those lofty titles seeming meant only for the gods themselves. However, it is this type of thinking that undermines your efforts in the first place. A certain disconnect has happened over the centuries: we seem to place these musicians, actors and athletes on such a high pedestal that in our minds, we could never achieve such greatness. It is only this rift in our thinking that prevents us from truly attaining any of our goals.
Most of us hear our favorite musicians, or watch our favorite actors pull truly transcendent performances. As if they are able draw from a source we have yet to see. We think, “I could NEVER do that…” It is THAT self-defeating thought that will ALWAYS undermine you… no matter how hard you train. You must reprogram the way you think.
1.) Practice. Don’t Ask.
Achieving proficiency in ANYTHING requires training. Sometimes, you won’t be able to find the answer right away. It is only through your experiences that you will be able to find what you are looking for. Reading books, blogs, articles and studying up on your inspirations will only get you so far. As one of my favorite authors, Philip Toshio Sudo says: “Pick up your guitar. Tune. Play.” You need not think of anything else. Apply this to your field of study. When your mind steps in with it’s incessant chatter, when it tells you “You can’t do this”, “You have so much to learn”, “You will NEVER get it!”. Tell it to shut up. Focus on the task at hand.
2.) Self Defeating Thoughts
The famed actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee, had a very useful mental exercise for defeating these negative thoughts. Whenever he had a negative thought about himself, he would visualize writing it down on a piece of paper and burning it. Whenever you think to yourself “This is hard!” or “I’ll never be able to do this!” use Lee’s exercise. Burn it from your mind.
3.) The only opponent is within.
We cannot predict the future or prevent the unseen. What matters as you go through life is not the obstacles you face, but how you respond to them. Despite all the positive thinking and training we can do there will still come points in your life where you fail because of means completely beyond your control. Sudo’s favorite saying was “Seven times down, eight times up”. That is still progress. The only thing that will TRULY prevent you from moving on is yourself.
While this article only just barely touches on the surface, hopefully it will set you in the right direction and give you the foundation you need to attain mastery over your chosen field. However, if you think yourself to be a master, you have much learning to do! Reach down deep inside. Clear your mind of it’s idle chatter. Play your song of songs. That which, in your heart, you know you are meant to do. As I like to say “One Sound. One Song”. Your sound. Your song.