“Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.” – Mary Browne
Sometimes we get these ideas in our heads that things just are a certain way, we don’t question them because they seem so logical and comfortable. Why rock the boat?
Well, what if there is a better way?
We keep doing the same stuff year in and year out until someone raises the question: “Hey, why don’t you do it like this instead?”. Then they go ahead and show us something that we hadn’t thought of and that saves us a buttload of time. We scratch our heads and keep doing that until the next person turns up and shows you an even BETTER way.
Curious how that is. When we’re an outsider we might see things more clearly than when we’re smack dab in the middle of doing stuff. We’d do well to take a step back every once in a while and just look around us to see if there’s any way to improve what we do and how we do it. If we can’t see through it then we should invite someone else in to have a look.
Now, not every idea will be golden but just the mere act of having someone else take a look at it might stir up that mindset within us. What we need to do next is to simply thank the person in question and get focused on improving!
I’ve heard several artists who’ve raised the point about people who’ve “mastered” their craft and asked: “How do you improve on perfection?”. I try to keep an open mind to this idea, the last thing you want to do is to call their idea of perfection BS. Instead I try to find the reason to why they beleieve something to have that quality.
More often than not this comes from them having set the bar at the level of their heroes without necessarily understanding what has actually gotten their heroes to that level. It’s usually not just talent, hard work or having great teachers. Although, these do play a big part in it.
For each artist this is an individual set of circumstances that defines their charecteristics. These involve their surroundings, upbringing, when they rose to prominence, mindset and so forth. The factors are endless. That’s why I prefer to work with principles and things that pertain to the individual.
To rise to that specific performers level of excellence we would actually have to go through so many different variables many of which we have no control over so that it becomes a pointless pursuit.
What we need to find is where we are right now, what we have in our backpack and where we want to go from here using what we’ve got. To do that we need to challenge everything we thought we knew. Every assumption of how we work.
How do we do that? By raising questions. Let’s get curious about ourselves!
Who are our heroes? Why do we admire them? What would we like to ask them? How can we improve our abilities? Why are we doing what we’re doing?
It’s important to know that we only know so much. Very often we’re not encouraged to question our surroundings. To a certain extent it might be healthy. We CAN drive ourselves mad if we only question and don’t go forward because we fear that every decision will be the wrong decision.
There’s also an inherent danger in steamrolling forward blindly without looking at whether or not we’re really doing as well as we could. Try to make time every now and then for asking these types of questions.
If we’re in need of questions just look up interviews with people you admire or are interested in. Write down all the questions and form your own answers. If one of the questions is something like: “How do you feel about being such a huge influence on several generations of artists that have followed in your footsteps?” it might be hard to answer. We can imagine ourselves having come to that point and just make up an answer.
Sounds silly? Indeed! It’s pure fiction and play. It’s like taking our brain out for a mental jog. What happens within us is rather interesting though. Our minds go to work trying to solve these problems. Even though we might not come up with any adequate answer on the spot it can arrive days, weeks, months or even years later! The most important thing is that we pose these questions without fearing the consequences of having to change our routine.
That being said, I hope that you challenge some of the ideas presented here as well. They’re some of my beliefs, not necessarily something that applies to you. Take what you like and leave the rest!
“Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don’t be disappointed when they are not; it helps them to keep trying.” – Mary Browne
Andrew Anthony – EA Sports Voice Tutorial