Archive for September, 2015

Additional thoughts 2

September.25. 2015

One way to look at the virtuoso life is from a materialistic viewpoint.

Consider a doctor and a guy in the street pushing a shopping cart rummaging through trashcans for discarded soda cans.

How many soda cans do you think does the guy need to find before he can make a buck?

And how long does he have to push that cart around before he finds enough of them to make a buck?

That’s a life of struggle.

Compare that existence to that of a doctor who can easily make a few hundred bucks with a 5 minute diagnosis.

One person is a virtuoso in terms of earning power, the other is just struggling.

From this angle, virtuosity in life does have a strong materialistic component. That’s not surprising given that we live in a materialistic society.

So does that reduce the pursuit of virtuosity in life to the pursuit of material wealth?

No, but in one of those ironies of nature, even if material gain is not a goal of virtuosity, it is usually a byproduct.

That is, if you achieve virtuosity in some area of life, your virtuosity will almost always translate into material success.

(Material wealth in itself, however, is not always an indicator of virtuosity as in the case of someone who gains his wealth from an inheritance, through no virtuoso effort of his own.)

Let’s say if you are a plumber and you achieve a high level of virtuosity in your work and this result in outstanding work.

Your customers love you for your attention to detail and workmanship (all characteristics of the virtuoso mindset), soon word gets around and in no time at all, you have more work than you know what to do with.

But if you’re one of those plumbers who can’t wait to be done with your work and your work is so bad, your customers have to call other plumbers to fix what you’ve done, with this kind of shoddy attitude, who’s going to call you back again?

And if no one calls you for more work, you may have to start looking for that shopping cart to push around soon.

The same is true in every field, every line of work.

If you put everything you have into your work, you will come up with extraordinary results, and extraordinary work is almost always rewarded with material success.

So the key to a life of virtuosity is to focus on execution, to become a virtuoso in what you do.

When you achieve this virtuosity in life, all the material wealth and success that you need will automatically flow towards you.

You don’t even have to search for it, it will happen naturally of its own accord.


Additional thoughts

September.21. 2015

So how about the principles of lightness and fluidity and rhythm?

Do they apply to the virtuosity of life also?

Yes, but in more subtle ways.

In the performance of physical movements, those elements exist at a physical level.

When you watch musicians or dancers or any other performance artists, what you see are the physical manifestations of those principles.

In life, however, the principles exist at a metaphysical level.

For example, lightness of touch in physical activity becomes lightness of approach in life.

To be light in life, you avoid conflicts, you tread lightly in your daily interactions. Instead of forcing situations, you allow them to play out naturally.

All this makes for a relatively stress-free existence.

Which enables you to focus fully on what you do.

Fluidity, another key virtuoso principle, is reflected in how we transition from one action to another.

In physical activity, fluidity is mostly achieved through anticipation.

The same is true in life.

In life, you exist in a state where the present is not some static thing that has to be experienced mindfully, whatever that is.

Instead the present is a dynamic thing that is constantly moving and evolving.

So instead of focusing on the present moment, you focus on the next moment.

And when it arrives, you’re already on the next moment again.

In this way, you’re always ready, you’re never caught by surprise.

It allows you to transition seamlessly from one moment of life to the next, from one cycle to the next.

Rhythm is timing in both the physical and metaphysical realms.

It is self explanatory so no further words needed.

So too the other principles, that of economy, looseness or release.

Some ideas on how to achieve virtuosity in life

September.18. 2015

Some people will define a virtuoso life in terms of material comforts, others in earning power, yet others in spiritual enlightenment.

For me, virtuosity in life is all about execution.

Because it doesn’t matter what station of life you attain, what level of enlightenment, if you can’t execute effortlessly, you’re struggling through life.

And struggling is no virtuoso living.

Execution here refers to how we perform specific tasks in life.

From such mundane daily tasks as doing the yard, to cooking dinner, to working in the workplace, how we approach these tasks will determine how effortless they become.

The key to effortless execution lies in two things.

First, reduce resistance.

Resistance is anything that can get in the way of your execution and prevent you from performing at an optimum.

Most resistance is caused by lack of technique.

When you lack technique, you have to compensate with brute force which will result in you having to expend greater effort, which will in turn sap your energy and waste time.

So to achieve virtuosity in life, acquire skills and technique.

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Because it takes a great deal of time and effort to learn skills and technique. To get to that level of mastery, you’ll have to do it day and night, every chance you get.

And this is just to master one task.

What about all the other tasks which you have to master too?

Well, you don’t, instead you harness the energy of others to do the things that you can’t do yourself, such as doctors, plumbers, car mechanics, any kind of task that will come up in the course of living.

So an important caveat in effortless living is that you mustn’t be greedy.

You must choose one or two areas of expertise and leave other areas for others to master.

If you try to master everything, you will end up mastering nothing.

Resistance can also be caused by conflicts.

If you want to move effortlessly through life, you must minimize any potential conflicts that will stop you in your tracks or slow you down.

What kind of conflicts am I talking about?

Every kind. The kind that gets you fined for not paying your taxes, the kind that gets you arrested for breaking the law, the kind that gets the neighbor mad at you for letting your dog bark all night long.

If you have to deal with conflicts, you will have no time to devote to your task.

Second, reduce what you have to do.

Take out all unnecessary steps, simplify procedures, streamline your work, and if it makes no appreciable difference to the end results, maybe don’t even do it at all.

Early on in life, I discovered that there’s such a thing as real work and busy work.

And I quickly learned that if I want to do the real work well, I’ll have to cut down on the busy work.

Because the busy work will distract you from your real work and prevent you from doing it well.

So what’s real work and what’s busy work?

Real work is what gives you your desired results, busy work what makes you appear to be doing your job but makes no real contribution to your end results.

Obviously, you want to focus on the real work and cut down on the busy work.

To do this, be very clear in your mind what your task is.

Then focus all your energy toward that task.

Do whatever it takes to get your end results.

Even if it means breaking the rules or changing the process or challenging the status quo.

Rules and traditions have a way of constraining your creativity and making you waste valuable time on useless and obsolete procedures.

Rules do serve a purpose, that of providing structure for you but once that usefulness is gone, you are free to dispense with them.

Remember, there’re no rules in life, only what works.

Unfortunately depending on where you work and who you work for, many organizations these days are more about busy work than real work.

For example, as a teacher, you’re supposed to spend more time explaining to the bureaucrats how you’re doing your job than actually doing it.

It’s as if to be a good guitar player, all you need to do is explain to me your practice schedules and how they impact your playing than actually practicing, and you’d be a good player.

If only life were that simple.

But of course, here you have to tread carefully, keeping in mind the conflict avoidance principle.

If busy work is what they require, then busy work is what you need to give them, that is, if you want to keep your job.

Better to have a job and do it with mediocrity than to have no job at all.