Updated: 6 days ago
This is part of the language we use at FMG. It creates an expectation that consistency is king. Not the flashy drum fill, not the perfectly executed vocal run, not the groovy bass line that has a dope slap part, not the accuracy of your sight reading or even ability to sight read. Consistency is king and repetition creates that. It also creates a lot more.
As a creative, I have been a slave to the idea that if I could just capture one of those lightning bolt moments in a bottle and it would just work, whatever it is: business, a single release, a t-shirt design, a new service, a relationship...you fill in the blank.
We think that we will just stumble upon greatness some day. Like, greatness is just out there chillin at the local speedway and we will just bump into it and go, "Wow!" "You're Here!"
Maybe this will hit a little different: We think that just by being at work things should happen for us and others should be grateful we even showed up. We showed up, so boom greatness! "I am great just because I allow you to be in my presence."
If you're a song writer or speaker you look for "inspiration and feeling". You look to be moved, something to move you, so you can write.
While sometimes, this can work out - Sometimes, you may be at the right speedway with the right frame of mind and run into the right problem and have the right solution for that problem and all the resources to fix said problem...most of the time you won't. You will have a piece of the puzzle, you will have a moment you felt moved, you will have a moment that is unrepeatable and leaves you more frustrated because you realized there was something there worthwhile and you can't do anything with it.
Do you see how much power we give away here? Do you see how that spirit of "I can't" now creeps in?
Why can't you do anything with it? Because you put so much pressure on that one moment, you blew it. You were unprepared to meet greatness. You were unprepared to show up to your own party. You were there, but you weren't there.
When we choose to search for lightning-in-a-bottle moments, we choose to leave, actually capturing lighting to chance. When we choose to wait on inspiration, we are taking action against ourselves: we are taking action against the odds of possibilities for greatness in whatever arena we choose to play in. We are literally stealing from ourselves.
I subscribe to a thing called "planned creativity". I learned this from Jon Acuff. He's written a bunch of books that have drastically changed my life. One of the principals that have helped him to do this as a creative person, who once upon time chased lighting bolts, is what he calls his "Big Book of Creativity."
You see what he does is uses his everyday grind as his creative field of observation. If he's at a doctor's appointment and sees a magazine cover that sparks a thought, he takes a photo and writes down the thought. At the end of the day, there could be hundreds of little sparks that happened and every one of those is then placed into this "big book of creativity".
What does he do with? He uses it as prompts for his creative process. When he is feeling dry, feeling uncreative but still has to produce something creative, he leans into the work he has already done. The work is fresh every day so it never runs dry.
It is this repetition or "discipline" that created a consistent pattern or rhythm. This rhythm led to an abundance of opportunity, and that opportunity has now turned into 7 New York Times best-selling books. This from a guy who didn't start writing on purpose with a purpose until he was 30+ because he is a self-proclaimed late bloomer.
I don't think he was though. I think what he was, was a procrastinator. Anything else sounds better than repetition. I mean anything! Have you ever tried to beat Bowser at the end of Mario N64??? Or beat your child in a game of NBA 2K ever? Repetition is a mental game. It is one that stretches our own ability and reasonability.
The cost of entry to stability is consistency, and consistency is only found in repetition.
Repetition in music creates muscle memory, it tunes our ears, and it gives us control and intentionality. In life it gives us a mindset and framework of "I can do hard things". I can choose to show up! Not just physically, but show up mentally. I can string enough days in a row to meet greatness at a speedway and have all the resources to take the opportunity and achieve what my younger, less-consistent self never could.
What I have learned about myself in teaching is that everyone has greatness in them. Not for every arena, but certainly for the arena of life. Every human has the capacity to choose the version of today that their future self would be proud of, but we are too afraid of pain to do it. We are too driven by the need to feel good that we abandon the long tail of joy and content.
That's the best and most sobering part of this whole thing. We are all scared, we are all fearful of failure, and the answer is the same for all of us. We just have to show up to our life, our instrument, our family, our coworkers and strangers with pure, unabandoned, repetition of "how can serve you?", How can create space for you?", "How can move your needle forward?", "How can I care for you?", and "How can I help?".
Repetition Bleeds Consistency and Consistency is the mark of Greatness.
We have to be careful what we repeat. If repeat the wrong things, we end up right back at speedway watching greatness get into the back of an escalade with our taquitos.
This is why good instruction is irreplaceable. A good teacher shows you how to win in the little things for a long period of time, so you can win at the hard things for long periods of times. Small wins stacked over time create a life worth living, especially when those wins are for the possibility of helping others.
Greatness is in you.
What are you repeating?
VP of Student Experience