Well, in a word, no you’re not.
Hate to break it to you sister, but no matter what you plan to do with your life, it takes time and dedication to get there. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 Hour Rule. The premise is this: in order to become an expert at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice time, more or less.
So, whether you’re planning to become the next Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Kroeger, Ryan Tedder, Sara Bareilles, Pentatonix, or the next Beyonce, you have to put the work in. None of those guys just showed up to the first gig, having only dabbled previously. They put in hours and hours…and hours and hours…of practice.
Practice comes in many forms. First and foremost, it comes of physically plying your craft. That means that if you are a singer, you sing. If you are a songwriter, you write. If you are a pianist, you play. If you are a dancer, you dance, and if you are a painter, you paint. You get the idea.
Practice also happens mentally.
No, that doesn’t just mean daydreaming about your big break and how you’ll be discovered and make it big and get all the girls one day. And how then life will be sweet and easy.
It doesn’t really happen like that. Not for 99.99999999999% of us, anyway.
What does happen, you ask? You work your butt off for something you feel so passionate about that you feel like you would die without it. You develop a decent business sense to go with your art, because that’s what it takes to make it in the music business. Or the art business. Or the acting business. And you practice, practice, practice.
The mental practice that does occur is like that of an elite athlete preparing for the Olympic Games. It’s visualization, to the most extreme degree. Did you know that when you imagine performing a specific physical skill, your muscles fire in the same sequence as if you were actually physically performing that skill?
So if you run through playing that piano sonata very specifically in your mind, the muscles in your hands and fingers, as well as in your pedal feet, will fire as though you are physically playing that same piano sonata.
That’s a little mind blowing, isn’t it? Not only do you run through the imagery in your mind so as to see yourself in flawless technique and performance, thereby creating the neural pathways for success, but you also actually get your muscles to physically fire while you’re practicing a successful performance. All without ever touching your instrument.
Now, this kind of mental practice cannot solely substitute for real, live, hands-on practice, but they go together really well.
When it comes right down to it, the people that make a success of themselves in the spotlight (and that is definitely not the only type of success), those are the people who are so incredibly passionate about their art that they cannot be separated from it. It is part of who they are, and to take it away would be like removing a limb.
They probably don’t even think of practicing as practicing most of the time. They probably just think of it as doing what they love. And even when it is the technical stuff that is sometimes boring and difficult, there is a certain energy about it because it is intrinsically part of their passion, and you can’t do one well without the other being a part of it.
So think twice next time you don’t want to practice, but you’re sure you’re going to be a star. One of those things is going to shift. Either you’re going to put on your big girl panties and get to loving your practicing, or you’re going to enjoy music or dance or art for the place it does have in your life, but it is not going to be your life. And that’s a good place too.
The choice is always yours.