Hello and welcome back to the Dannabass blog. We cover a lot of topics including musical growth, learning, philosophy, creativity and inspiration.

I want to start to talk about Mastery.

For a jumping off point, let us quickly define mastery as:

Mastery (noun) : A lifelong journey which results in high levels of proficiency and acumen in a particular area or field of study.

We can come back and adapt our definitions later as it suits our needs but for now let’s move on.

Mastery is something many of us choose to seek in disciplines that we are interested in and care about.

One of the main tenets of mastery is that it will require focused, and potentially some guided, learning. You must apply your will and intentions to your chosen subject and also you will need to be able to receive, use and perceive feedback.

Your ability to perceive and understand and apply feedback – this ability will have a great impact on your speed and difficulty in accepting critique and using it to forge success and growth.

I underestimated this ability for a long time and I will now say that if you find yourself hurt or disappointed by the feedback you have gotten, learn to put the emotions aside. Put the whole chunk of advice aside for now if you must. You can revisit it when you are ready.

In line with our ability to receive and interpret criticism, correction and feedback, we must extract our ego from this equation.

Steel your dedication to continue, steady yourself with your drive and love for what you do and want to do.

Make yourself resilient while becoming less vulnerable to the emotional aspects of performance and learning feedback.

If the chef has an emotional breakdown and won’t hear that his customers think the food is too salty, then the chef will not be open to making the corrections necessary to achieve the next step forward with their food and restaurant.

A chef should also always be tasting their food. Never serve what you wouldn’t eat.

While we are in here, thinking about feedback and personal ego and emotions, let us begin to look at several resources we can use to help address different aspects of our lives and ourselves relevant to our mission to improve and grow.

Here are some books I have benefitted from and believe most of us could gain some confidence and understanding from.

Effortless Mastery – Kenny Werner

The Music Lesson – Victor Wooten

These two listed above are good at addressing any internal roadblocks and or social pressures that are common stumbling blocks for musicians and learners.

They will help you to hold the confidence and clear mind that you may need to succeed.

Don’t be fragile, brittle glass. Become a resilient vine that continues to grow indomitably, even when it’s tendrils are trimmed back.

The main concept here is that you must believe in yourself, you must not set unhealthy limits on yourself and where you are heading with your practice. By building confidence, and I also suggest kindness and patience, we remove the road blocks from with in ourselves. We prep ourselves to be running full speed with a productive mindset towards what we want and how we want to be.

Further books in this vein:

Zen in the art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

Zen in the art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig

NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming by Tom Hoobyar and Tom Dotz

NEXT I want to present to you the incredible and groundbreaking novel PEAK by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

Anders Ericsson is a researcher in the field of Experts! He has assessed peak performers in fields from Music to Chess, to Sports and more. He is one of the most effective and knowledgeable scholars on the subject.

I highly recommend this book PEAK to all performers and people in any field that want to be better or the best. This book will help you understand the tools and tradeoffs that those who have been the best have used to get to and maintain their status at the top.

In a follow up post I will talk about the different kinds of practice according to PEAK and how to apply the ideas to yourself to learn and advance more successfully.

Finally I want to link a video for everyone here. This was a good watch with some decent points.

How to trick your brain to like doing hard things – A video based on the novel Atomic Habits by James Clear

In this video, the narrator talks about James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

Atomic Habits will be my next purchase and read after PEAK as it sounds like a great resource.

The main premise presented in this video is that starting is the hardest part of anything.

Let me repeat that:


What was shown was that just by starting whatever activity or habit you chose, a person was shown to progress and benefit. The argument is that by focusing not on the 98% of what may come as you enter a field or activity, shifting your focus to the 2% of getting started on a path will get you the most gains comparatively.

It helps you avoid mental hurdles where your mind might imagine things are difficult and then by that perception, the brain makes the experience match your expectations.

If you have already started, then you have done the hardest part already.

The other powerful idea that this video and the novel discuss are the concept of KEYSTONE HABITS

A KEYSTONE HABIT is something you do everyday.

For many artists and creatives, it is as simple as taking a walk everyday.

For some people it may exercising daily.

And for yet others, it could be simply writing everyday.

I have always iterated that if you get enough crap ideas out there, then good ideas will follow.

This reinforces my idea there. That just doing something regularly may help to teach you to understand it better.

The other beneficial aspect of KEYSTONE HABITS is that they will naturally bring about beneficial changes in behavior.

By just working out or walking everyday, you will likely find yourself wanting to eat better and to make healthier choices. They argue that many difficult habits can be achieved more quickly by just regularly carrying on your habit.

That also leads us back to PEAK which divides practice in to 3 distinct types with their own cielings or limits to success.

In our next article we will assess and discuss those type of practice and how PEAK authors tell us we can avoid many pitfalls and put ourselves on the track to success. We will also be back with an entry on how to use the mental visualization techniques of NLP to call up chosed emotional-mental states when needed.

Keep on plucking!

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