Getting Down to Business
|July 11, 2012||Posted by admin under Blog||
When I find a book I love, I often pass it on to friends. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield (the author of The War of Art) is not one of those books. This one I’m keeping. You should get your own copy.
The first time I read it, I had so many “aha” moments that I had to stop every five or ten pages and put it down to digest and reflect. The second time through I dogeared pages, and now I have some bits almost committed to memory.
Turning Pro is not a long book. It has plenty of white-space, but every mini-chapter packs a powerful punch. It cuts to the core and is forcing me to face head-on that nagging fear that I’m no more than a dabbler, a dilettante.
Pressfield says that when we turn pro, everything becomes simple. Since I’ve started my year back on the piano bench I’ve noticed my life has become simpler.
- It’s become almost second nature to say “no” when I’m asked to take responsibilities that at first glance look like they’d ‘look great on a resume’. Surprisingly there have been several offers in the past few months which would have been time-consuming volunteer positions.
- The TV is never on. That’s nothing new really. But I’m surprised that I haven’t logged into my Netflix account to watch a movie in months.
- I’ve streamlined my teaching studio by teaching at home to save on studio rental. I’ve sold my Yamaha baby grand and a Roland keyboard…both went to terrific homes. No advertising involved!
- I wake up earlier every morning, eager to pick up where I left off the night before.
- I think twice before engaging in long phone conversations or saying yes to lunch dates that I really don’t have the time for.
Taking the next step.
There’s a wonderful section in Turning Pro where Rosanne Cash describes one of her dreams and how it affected her art. She woke from the dream “into the life of an artist” and began pushing herself out of her comfort zone by reading, painting, and going deeper into every process involved in her art. Thanks to this book (and to my friend Erica, who’s voice is always in the back of my head hounding me about deliberate practice) I’m determined to get more and more under the surface as I enter the second half of this project.
As Pressfield says:
It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. In order to achieve “flow,” magic, “the zone,” we start by being common and ordinary and workmanlike. We set our palms against the stones in the garden wall and search, search, search until at last, in the instant when we’re ready to give up, our fingers fasten upon the secret