I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.


I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well. – Johann Sebastian Bach

Transcription, modern style. It is still one of the best ways to learn; by imitation of the masters of your genre. Repeatedly.

What does that mean?
This quote says it all. If you wish to be successful, you need to be industrious. Being industrious means to be busy, like a beaver. There is also the implication that the work you do be useful, and little or no implication that the work must be difficult.

In the quote, Bach says that he was industrious by obligation, implying it might not have been his choice (but it’s hard to argue with results, right?). He also says that anyone who worked as hard and as consistently as he did could expect the same success.

What he left out (at least in my opinion) was his immense raw talent. I’ve known some people who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I doubt that there is any amount of industriousness would help them succeed as a performer or writer of music.

Why is being industrious important?  
At thefreedictionary.com, industrious is defined as being “persistent in work or study; diligent” and in an obsolete definition “Skillful.” Given the era from of the quote, I think including the obsolete definition is appropriate. So being industrious is honing your skill through being both diligent and persistent in work and study.

Being industrious is the root of both skill and discipline, meaning you do what it takes, and you do it over and over again until it becomes part of you. Both in study, and in action, you gain skill and experience until you have achieved the pinnacle of your ability.

Where can I apply this in my life?
I see no other route to success, other than the occasional stroke of luck. Tiger Woods became a golf great by starting early in his life and being industrious. He worked on his skill and discipline, in study and in action, until he was able to reach his full potential on the links. Without having been industrious, he might eventually become a scratch golfer, but nothing spectacular.

Bach spent many years of his youth copying and transcribing the works of famous composers. For those who read music, often, just looking at a score starts the music playing in your head. And, as it is said, repetition is the mother of skill. Hearing it and writing it, together, makes the lesson all the more memorable. Each repetition sharpening his skill, building his discipline, helping him reach the pinnacle of his ability.

While I have a little skill in music, even if I devoted the rest of my life to chasing the ghost of Bach, I’d never get very far. Most of us just don’t have that kind of talent. For those of you who do, I congratulate you, and wonder why you are wasting your time reading my words? Get back to your talent and get busy! 8)

For the rest of us, while we may not go down in history as one of the greatest composers of our era, we can still hone our skills. Even if we will never be the best at something does not mean we should give up. I would recommend finding something enjoyable, then learning and practicing, in an effort to maximize both your skills and the pleasure  you draw from the doing.

Grab some paper and write down a couple things you like to do, for which you have at least a little skill. Include things you may not have done in a while, perhaps dating as far back to your childhood. When you have a list of reasonable length, add to each entry why you enjoy doing it, and why you want to get better at it.

Now that you have a list of things to try, and reasons you want to do so, it comes down to selecting the first one to try. As always, feel free to come back and either add to this list, or select a different entry, depending on your desires or available time. It’s your life, you gotta be you, right?

What are you going to do to to get better at the thing you have selected? Is it just practice? Do you need someone to practice with (or against)? Would a mentor help, if so where can you find one? Is there a club in your area where you can find people to trade tips and pointers with? Are there books in the library that can help? Are there blogs, chat rooms, or forums online which could help you?

It’s your life, enjoy it. Find something you like and get better at it. If you enjoy photography, take photos. If you enjoy painting, paint. If you find joy in the act of hiking or running, shut the computer off and get out of the house. Get busy doing what you enjoy.

Be industrious with what you enjoy, and you will get better at it. Live a full life, have fun, and keep getting better at what you love to do. That sounds like success to me, how about you?

From: Twitter, @RNpedia
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johannesse404536.html
Photo by chrismear

Happy Birthday to JS Bach, born 21 March, 1685.

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in discipline, doing, improve, persistence, personal growth, success and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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