Acheiving Goals by Investing in Yourself!

January 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

© 2017, TerryMercer.com

I don’t care what your ‘career choice’ is, these concepts apply… and your future depends on your ability to faithfully and consistently apply them to your own life, your own craft, and goals. Whether you are a musician, a photographer, a videographer, a sound person, a salesperson, a cook, business owner/partner, athlete, employee, or student.

The concept of KNOWING YOUR JOB, and DOING IT TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY… REPEATEDLY and CONSISTENTLY, and ‘as good as, or better than’ your competition, is the key to separating you from ‘everyone else.’

Understanding and striving for this will make you different, better, in greater demand… and ultimately, worth more than your ‘competition.’ It will help you get employed, stay employed, work your way up – in authority, responsibility, income, and ultimately succeed at just about whatever you want in life. It helps you open doors, gain access, and do more than others in your same field. If it’s physically within your means, the application of this is key, can HELP YOU ACHIEVE GREATNESS!

Merely ‘showing up’ really isn’t good enough, anyone can ‘just show up.’ But, it takes a special type of person and skill set to show up AND EXCEL AT YOUR JOB (whatever it is).

I ‘stumbled’ across these words of wisdom in a business course, many years ago. I don’t remember if it was in high school or college, but the words, the lesson, the concept struck an element of ‘absolute truth’ once I bothered to ‘look around’ at those people I believed to be amazing, successful, and to have accomplished some of the things I hoped I could one day accomplish. Success for most people is demonstrated by money, for some it’s status or reputation, but ultimately there are millions of talented and capable people that get lazy, cease pushing themselves, plateau their ability, stop learning new stuff or better ways, and their practicing is toward the bottom of their list, after all, it does take time. However, the reality is, your choices and actions absolutely impact your future!

I don’t recall which ‘teacher’ (person, instructor, or professor) first pointed out the words. And years later, I was able to track them down to a book written in 1944, “Psychology for Musicians” by Percy C. Buck. I assume it stuck a cord for the person that told me those words, as much or more than it did me. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are the two sentences of wisdom, from Mr. Buck, that stuck with me, not because of who he was, because I didn’t know the man… but because of WHAT HE SAID, and HOW I thought those words should be applied to MY LIFE and future:

“An amateur can be satisfied with knowing a fact; a professional must know the reason why.”~ Percy C. Buck

… and …

“Amateurs practice till they get it right; professionals practice till they can’t get it wrong.”~ Percy C. Buck

If you step back and consider this for a moment, the amount of truth to both those sentences. The vast wisdom in them, I believe, if you care about your own future, you’ll understand HOW & WHY those phrases will be applied to your own life.

Next, consider Henry Ford's words, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." and "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."

Then there is Thomas Edison, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryford121339.html
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryford121339.html
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/henryford121339.html

Understanding that 'perfection' necessarily requires failures, loss, and learning what didn't work... but KEEPING GOING is key. Knowing  WHY something does what it does, tends to lead to innovation, creativity, improvement, because you understand ‘the limits’ – you learn how to push them, work around them, and/or do something that ultimately allows you to exceed them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting, or already a professional or star in your field, because the reality is that even the heavy weight champion of the world doesn’t stop working out, doesn’t stop the runs, hitting the speed bag, or sparring… not if they hope to defend their title. Evil Knievel didn’t stop after a crash or a world record, nope he got back up… planned, practiced, and pushed a little harder… a little further, with as much safety as possible. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Nikola Tesla, and Michael Jackson kept pushing, continued learning new things, trying it more and differently… so they could succeed, accomplish, and achieve more than anyone else in their fields.

Consider, the average ‘professional’ spends 4 to 12 years learning, practicing, doing… and re-doing, and re-doing again… whether in school or real life… learning, practicing, and honing their craft… until it’s ‘muscle memory’ – second nature – and then, still has outside parties (whether peers or instructors) giving them ‘continuing education’ – new technics, different methods, new information, updates on changes, better ways, easier ways, more efficient methods, and even constructive criticism… ultimately SO THEY CAN IMPROVE, become better, more, and ultimately expand their base, their ability, to be their best in their field. 10,000 hours is the generally accepted amount of time most accept as ‘the standard’ a person needs to invest to ‘master’ a skill, profession, and career.

Whether an attorney, doctor, musician, camera person, sound person, farmer, builder, or chef… if they are successful at what they do, they all have some vital things in common: AN EDUCATION (whether academic or vocational) and are dedicated, motivated, able to adapt and learn from their mistakes, and continue pushing themselves forward… EXPERIENCE… and TIME. Regardless of the setbacks, challenges, hurtles, and even failures. They WANT success, expect MORE, and strive for more. Ultimately, THEY DO NOT SETTLE, don’t stop, and continue trying to improve, and strive not to have any serious problems, or public failures.

Bottom line, YOU CAN DO IT! It just takes time and effort, and continued positive thinking!


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If you have any questions about photography, please feel free to ask. I might not know the answer off the top of my head, but odds are I can either help you find the answer or know someone that knows the answer. After nearly 45 years of playing with hundreds of different cameras, both film and digital, I probably don't know specific 'make and model' info... but I UNDERSTAND PHOTOGRAPHY, and the PRINCIPLES & CONCEPTS of capturing and creating good to great images.
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