Show, don’t tell

“We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.”

Someone came up to me the other day asking how much I charge for guitar lessons. Happens a lot, actually. Usually, after some sort of goofy performance I did. Unfortunately, I have to be a bearer of bad news by saying I don’t teach. Not anymore, that is. But not because I don’t want to. I just don’t think – and this from experience – that mere “teaching” is effective and productive in a real world situation. Just because I graduated from college doesn’t mean I’ve got it all figured out, does it? Some people who never went to school are more substantially successful than the ones holding a degree.

you can do it

You see, I don’t want my “students” to do stuff simply because I said so. I expect them to challenge me and prove to themselves that they can do better than what I’m telling them to do. I expect them to step outside the realms of the norm. To carve out a distinct identity for themselves. An identity that flaunts progress, not nostalgia!

So, what am I talking about here? Intense motivation and passion. We can read all the books in the world and spend half our life in school, but if we’re not willing to die for something, we’ll probably either quit at some point or simply dwell in lukewarmness and mediocrity. And what a waste of time that is. How boring that makes for one’s life, whether ours or that of the ones we could have a chance of making a difference towards.

Most of what I am today is, in fact, a product of inspiration from people I’ve personally decided to look up to, over the years. These folks didn’t try to walk me through life, I simply chose to watch them in action. Heck, a lot of them failed many times. Yet, I followed and learned from reality instead. I guess, they must’ve been doing something that’s hard to ignore, whether in the form of words or deeds. Nonetheless, it was definitely effective.

I’ve never been a fan of learning by-the-book. I’m not saying we can’t get anything from it or that we shouldn’t. It’s just that when the book becomes the be-all-end-all, we become a slave to someone’s own thoughts and opinions. Our mind cannot, or rather, will not “break the rules” because we’re not able to see beyond those “rules.” And beyond is where the unknown universe lies. Beyond is where we find our true and unique selves.

A recipe calls for a clove of garlic. I put in five… so, sue me!

When one is not aware of the consequences, neither will the benefits be obvious. We learn truly from our own mistakes, not from that of others. We can’t possibly understand someone’s pain until we feel it ourselves. Why limit someone’s imagination, then? Why be the judge of what is “right” and “wrong?” Don’t we all have the capacity to make that decision for ourselves? What is the real issue here? Trust? Fear? Control? Insecurity? For instance, I’m not for abortion. I don’t recommend it. It is against my beliefs. But I certainly won’t think less of someone who decides otherwise. I may not agree, but I accept. Whether there are consequences or rewards, my only business in it is acceptance. So, why do we impose our man-made laws as if our opinions matter more than that of others. Why do we shove our morals down people’s throats… and call it love? Good luck gaining converts that way.

What I believe is that people need to inspire, as well as be inspired. We need to be heroes as much as we need heroes in our own lives. We need to show examples as well as we need to be shown examples. Real world examples. Ones that produce results. Because results are effective. We’ve all heard the cliche – We should be the change we want to see in the world. It’s true. But in the same token, we shouldn’t expect anyone to follow our lead. We can only be sincere in wanting to do our part without expecting anything in return. Yet, if we’re motivated enough, passionate enough, persevering enough… maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance we’ll turn some heads and raise some eyebrows. And to me, that’s a job well done already.

Just my 2 cents…

Oh by the way, still insisting on guitar lessons? Well, if you can handle a boot camp and promise not to quit, no matter what… rip me off for $30/hour.

Otherwise, stick to RockBand.

3 thoughts on “Show, don’t tell

  1. I agree with you Chris, particularly about the inspiration. There are many people who have inspired me throughout my life and I hope – in some small way – that I may have inspired one or two people along the way.

    I am inspired not so much by what people have or what they say they are, but by what they do. It definitely is a case of show not tell with me.

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