Most books, just like Tai says, are one-gold-nugget books. Tree of Knowledge. This one is full of gold nuggets. The One Thing book is a Tree of Life book
The nugget I discovered yesterday may be the most important thing I have missed, and I see others miss…
It is and have been in plain sight but at the same time it is invisible, like most new distinctions. Until you see it, you don’t…
The nugget, this new distinction, is the foundation for the Ben Jonson quote from Poor Richard’s Almanac: “He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master” 1
People who don’t have this distinction (the gold nugget from this book) are, forever, mediocre.
Here is the surprising bit of gold, that made me want to read all the 250 page that came after it: How Gary Keller made it a short affair to become good at playing the guitar.
The author, Gary Keller, is not self-taught only. He actually hired a guitar teacher. And when looking what would take him to mastery fastest, the teacher recommended one thing: practicing one thing: his scales.
If you want a sports example, football players, basketball players, the training is 90% drills.
I was a swimmer… I needed to practice the turns and the jumping into the water part most of my “career” as a competitive swimmer.
I was a gymnast. I practiced 90% of the time things like the landing after the work on the uneven bars… that was the only thing I did well, the uneven bars.
Chess players practice fragments of games.
The key, the path to mediocrity is to not like your drills, and therefore depend on your natural strengths only.
People who lack humility, the ingredient that allows you to be taught, will be stuck in doing the best they can.
People who allow a teacher to teach them, will grow to the level where they can do the best that can be done.
You may have observed in the world, in movies, that when someone says: “I was doing the best I could”, or promise “I’ll do the best I can” the mouth of the other persons twitches.
Why? Because people who stop developing their skills are a dime a dozen, and extraordinary results won’t come from them. They will produce mediocre results at best.
But… knowing what is a skill is a stumbling block for most people. It is definitely true about my students.
I occasionally recommend to my “blind to skills” people to do the skill-finding exercises in the book “What Color is Your Parachute”.
And every time I find that the skill of seeing skills is related to how teachable the person is, to how much they insist on teaching themselves… i.e. being taught by a fool… i.e. how un-humble they are.
I learned humility through a Landmark program, a year long training program around the Communication programs…
For training to take place, they said, you need to declare yourself incompetent. Not smart, not intelligent, not capable, not whatever you fancy yourself as… no. Incompetent.
There were 400 people in the program, about 20 locally. There wasn’t even one other person in my local group who fully embraced being incompetent.
The training happened much like a drill: you needed to get good at tiny aspects that started out on the “what the heck does that even mean?” level. Taking it to a level of automatic being, where your instincts are altered by this practice.
Some “tiny aspects”, aka distinctions were easier than others.
There was one common thread though: you declaring yourself to be incompetent.
It has become adjusted instincts for me… Adjusted instincts means: that is how I am. I don’t even have to know I am “doing” it.
I read with “I am incompetent. Tell me. Show me.”.
I don’t have questions. Questions are a dead giveaway that I haven’t declared myself incompetent.
The program was given in 1987, so almost everything I have done in the United States was built on that. I didn’t, I could not see it until I read this “gold nugget” in the book “The One Thing”.
But now that I see what I was doing, I can look back at my life and compare the before and after picture, how I did life before and how I did life after.
University Education is where you, in spite of the professors, where you are forced to be self-taught.
It’s horrible in architecture: you lack the skills, because they assume you have them.
We had a handful of students who came from a professional high school… they were technicians, and they had the foundation all other students lacked. The scales of architecture… the tools only drills sharpen.
I always felt like a fraud while I was an architect. I had impostor syndrome… because I knew I had no foundation.
Of course I didn’t know what was missing. And I had myself for a teacher… a fool.
Seventeen years of pure hell.
Had I known what I just learned, I would have hired a tutor to force me to do the mechanical moves of architecture… the sure hand, the lettering, the sketching…
The interesting thing is that all the teachers in architecture school were like me: they were NOT good architects, they also lacked the fundamental mechanical skills… so they were mediocre. All of them.
You cannot teach what you haven’t learned… You cannot even point it out. You cannot even refer a student to another teacher who is masterful at that.
Because you don’t know that you don’t know.
There is no joy, no fulfillment in being mediocre. There is impostor syndrome: inner unhappiness that needs to be hidden.
Without self-love there is no joy, no happiness, no good life. The higher self knows that you are a fraud. But without it saying: it’s ok that you didn’t know. But now you know. So get to work so you can live an authentic life.
Find a teacher who can point out what drills you need to do. So you can feel good about yourself.
Because when you like yourself, you love your life.
And that is the only important thing that you can attain. All the rest, money, fame, notoriety, is unimportant, unless you love your life.
While you are doing it, 40 different aspects of self-love, you’ll know where you are off… where you have impostor syndrome.
So the way to get the most out of the activator is to pinpoint one way you are an impostor, and start working on it. The energy of the Unconditional Love Activator helps you declare yourself incompetent. And helps you to learn.
But learn you must. Or life will remain the way it is: blah at best, wretched for most. 3
- Which doesn’t mean that he that is taught by a teacher isn’t taught by a fool… as most teachers are clueless themselves… :-( Regarding this distinction, this article is about, I have been clueless myself…
- Most people who buy it think that the energy of the activator is magical, mystical, and will change them forever. The truth is: you have to work on it. The energy, like a loving parent, will give you consolation while you learn, but the energy cannot learn for you. You have to do the work. Don’t want to? Join the 98% of the people who acted consistent with the belief that they don’t have to do anything to get something…
- My core, my taproot is this willingness to declare myself incompetent. It is what organizes my life, it is what gives me the ability to experiment, to go deeper, to admit when I was wrong, to maybe even change myself, instead of trying to change people. My core self. The one I can be in love with.