We live in an age where “productivity” takes on an almost religious significance. After all we all want to strive for greater productivity, don’t we? We get more done, we’re more successful in our efforts, and we are more prosperous as a result, right?
With respect to bagpipes, greater productivity are those efforts that we believe lead to success: more efficient practice, greater and faster learning, more playing, more practice, etc., etc. We search for tips and ways to be more like the successful pipers we see around us, seeking out the things we can add to our own efforts so we can be just like them.
But is this all effective? The truth is all this productivity is hard. Instead of focussing on ways to copy more productive people, which is hard and exhausting, it can be easier to simply avoid what unproductive people do. In a sense, you really don’t have to figure out what makes someone a successful piper, all you have to do is figure out what makes some pipers unsuccessful, and avoid or quit doing those things. Once that happens, becoming successful or more productive or prosperous in your efforts will happen automatically since what is left are the things that will bring you the most success.
Here are some habits that can you can quit, things that get in the way of everyone’s success. Quitting them will make room for the habits that will bring you closer to the success you desire.
Quit Working Too Much
Sometimes we are convinced that if we just keep at it, success will come. Our impulse is to get what we want as fast as we can get it. If success is not coming, then we are not working enough. But that can work to your disadvantage. We can lose sight of important stuff. Some of the most successful artists plied their craft for only small chunks of any given day, with plenty of time left to do other things that brought them joy. Patience is the key word here. Small bits of focussed bagpiping work can have profound effects. It is better than lengthy, monotonous practice sessions and drills, or mono-minded, unfocussed “busy” work that will get you nowhere.
Quit Being Afraid
Doubt and worry creep into any creative work. We tend to play the “what it” game inside our heads. What if it’s not good enough? What if I’m doing it wrong? What if I can never play well? Get over it. If you are doing any work at all (such as watching videos here at Dojo U!), then that work will pay off and make you a better player. You’re already doing more than the average piper. Unsuccessful pipers let fear and worry stymie their efforts, preventing them from taking the action that will propel them forward.
Quit Being Hard on Yourself
Telling yourself you are not good enough all the time is basically lying. Why? Because you are here at Dojo U, reading this! You are already taking steps to improve yourself as a piper. Count it as a win. Each time you pick up your practice chanter is another win. Now identify all those other things you do (practice, performance, competition). More wins. Be proud of yourself.
Quit Thinking You Know It All
It's almost a truism that people who think they know everything generally don't. Learning never stops. Unsuccessful pipers are those who stop learning and exploring. Always be aware of the limited extent of your knowledge and be conscious of the fact that there is always more to know.
Trust Your System
Once you have dispensed with what makes people unproductive and unsuccessful, you are now left with those efforts that will give you the time to develop the success you’ve been after. The best part? You now have a personal system. Trust it and it will serve you well.