|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next four weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
FOCUS + PRACTICE + TIME = MASTERY
SIMPLY STATED, IT ALL COMES DOWN TO WORK AND SURVIVAL.
There are so many Internet experts out here today. The ones who can tell you how to accomplish your life's dreams and gain recognition as a leader of your generation in as little as thirty days. All you need to do is apply their PROVEN methods and you can MASTER anything in no time at all! Really? The Internet, which has been, more or less, publicly accessible for about twenty years, and some quiche app or strategy, somehow abrogates five or six million years of human evolution?
Interesting concept? Yes. Proven reality? Well, let's look at that. What does constitute mastery of any particular skill set? In our most distant lineage of hunter gatherer ancestors, it was the ability to find or kill food, without ending up on the menu. Eventually, individuals would become so adept at this survival set that they were able to lower the learning curve for other members of their group and better facilitate the species chances in the food chain.
As time passed, the tools that aided in everyday life and survival became more complex and the tool makers became a subset in the group. With the introduction of agriculture, farmers who had learned their skills across generations of trial and error became the cornerstone around which were established permanent cultural centers. With time, the builders and artisans evolved into the architects and artists. These skills were taught through long, and sometimes arduous, apprenticeships. (There was a time when the carpenter's assistant showed his readiness to become a journeyman by his skill at designing and crafting his own tool chest and having it passed on by his master. Find an image of Duncan Phyfe's chest for a true mastery of a given craft!)
Musicians, composers, painters, sculptors, poets and writers. All learned their art and the incumbent craft needed to practice it by long years of focused attempts and the mentoring process involving their masters and their master's masters. The human brain is a wonderfully complex organ capable of absorbing and adapting incredible amounts of information and craftsmanship. It has been shown time after time that it is just that focused learning over time that is man's greatest asset.
Why is it then, in an environment with the level of distraction inherent in the on-line world, there has somehow arisen the notion that we have done away with the very talent and ability that has made us the apex of the world's animals? Yes, there is a stupefying amount of information available, and opportunities abound to show what we can, or can't, accomplish with that cornucopia. The availability of ideas and expressions doesn't instantly make you a master of them. It is the focused practice over time that will gradually allow you to rise to whatever summit you are capable of reaching. There is no app, or strategy, or program that will carry you there any more swiftly than your own imagination and the things you can bring to light by its application. Anything else is just setting sail without maps, compass, or knowledge of sea or weather. Good luck, and bon voyage!
In this author's view, it is the truly focused and committed mind that is the key. This attribute is what lends itself to concentrated effort and the willingness to try something over and over until it becomes as much a part of the individual's skills and reference as their own breathing. It is repetitive practice which leads one to ever higher plateaus in the quest for mastery. It is the time spent in these endeavors which pays off in the end. As close as a man will come to perfection is determined by the preparation for the journey and the time invested in the course.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis