Just read a review of a fascinating book.  No, I haven’t read the whole book but its on the way to my door.  The 27 TIPS FOR MASTERING ANYTHING is a masterful collection of what works and tips I relate to.  In his book, MASTERY, Robert Greene draws from the latest research, interviews with modern masters, and examines the lives of former greats like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Mozart to discover what it takes to achieve excellence.

     He argues that success is within anyone’s reach, if they have discipline, patience, and follow a number of important steps.

     As I’ve long said, in the area of  my expertise, art talent and pretty, natural handwriting are not required to learn a way of beautiful writing known as Calligraphy.  It’s an acquired skill.  It’s a method just like there is a method for learning guitar, piano, or brain surgery.  I created the method for making letters with pens and ink in 1977. In 1993 I translated that method to the dental drill, the tool I now use for all my Calligraphy.

Here are just a few of Robert Greene’s book, 27 TIPS FOR MASTERING ANYTHING….followed in bold, my comments about what I’ve done through the years that relates to his concepts, long before I knew of his concepts.

FIND YOUR LIFE’S TASK  The first step is to trust yourself and aim your career path at what’s unique about you.  My fascination with Calligraphy began with a college lettering assignment.  I never stopped my quest to be the best I could be.

RATHER THAN COMPETE IN A CROWDED FIELD.  Find a niche where you can dominate.  When I was in 3rd grade I taught myself how to walk on my hands.  I still can!  It was cool to do something no other kid in my school…IN MY TOWN!…could do.  I stood out.  The desire to stand out in productive ways has always been most important to me.  Decades later, I found my own niche.  I found a need and filled it.

LOVE YOUR SUBJECT AT A VERY BASIC LEVEL.  The things that transfixed you as a child, that you found most interesting and exciting, that were not a passing fancy, but a message about what you’re supposed to do.  The man who hand-printed numbers and words on a set of house plans for my parents, when I was 12, started my fascination with neat, pretty letters.

ENGAGE IN DEEP OBSERVATION, PRACTICE INCESSANTLY, AND EXPERIMENT!  You don’t need to impress people.  You need to watch them.  By learning the rules, you can dominate.  Our brains are set up to master skills.  By repeating one thing over and over and over again, neurons are recruited, hardwired, and mirrored.  That’s one of the reasons you never forget how, after you learn to ride a bike.  In the beginning, I bought a trainload of books with alphabets by other calligraphers.  I studied them.  I watched others who could do amazing hand-lettering with brushes and pens.  I practiced and practiced and practiced.  That’s the way musicians get to Carnegie Hall, you know!  In my own way, with 12 years on Public Television, books, and teaching internationally, all that practice and honing my skills took me places I’d never dreamed.

CHOOSE A MENTOR WHO WILL CHALLENGE YOU.  Let yourself be challenged.  The more your mentor challenges others, the more they’ll challenge you.  I met an old gentleman in Arkansas about 8 years into my Calligraphy experience.  He was a master.  He literally WROTE a book….all in his own Calligraphy.  He contacted me because he had seen a newspaper article about me and my work.  He was an amazing inspiration to me through his comments, guidance, and original pieces of his work.  I’ll never forget Ray DaBoll!

METICULOUSLY CRAFT YOUR PERSONA  We all wear ‘masks’ in society.  Being aware of that rather than being self-conscious about it allows you to be more effective in any situation.  So often, in my events, people are intimidated with the ease in which I do what I do.  I know that and make a special effort to make them comfortable with a few words of easy conversation to let them know they’re talking to a ‘regular guy.’  Conversely, if I’m romancing a new client or trying to market my skills to a new venue, I will take on a more professional air to appear as an authority on what I do.   I want what I’m saying and demonstrating to convey the benefits of my work.  I wear a different ‘mask’ while still being approachable and professional.

AWAKEN THE DIMENSIONAL MIND AND BE BOLD  After emerging from an apprenticeship, the inclination of many is to be conservative, to work firmly with a field and established, familiar rules.  The key to mastery is rejecting conservatism and becoming increasingly bold.  When I began my in-store events in 1993, I started with a conservative hourly amount.  It was taken immediately by numerous companies.  Within a couple of years I realized I was impacting the stores and their products in a very positive way during my events.  I bumped up my day rate $250. in one fell swoop!  A couple of years later I increased it $350. MORE per hour.  Three years later I raised it another $250. per hour.  Suffice to say, they were bold moves, but I continued to grow and improve and became wiser about how to make myself worth the rate I quoted.  I’ve always thought I was worth more that I was being paid.  That’s how I had the courage….and confidence….to keep raising the bar.

There’s much more in the book and I’m anxious to learn more ways to value what I do just as others who are much farther up the food chain that I!

And…while I’m on the subject….if you’re one of those out there wishing and dreaming and needing to be more productive with a skill that is, in all ways, amazing and in universal demand, we still have seats in June, August, September, October, and November.   If you call and enroll in any one of them and tell me you read this blog about this book, I’ll discount the fee a tidy sum!

I’ll teach you all I can, about all I know, in three days of learning you’ll never forget. A skill you can profit from in ways you never imagined, for many years to come.

Call me, even if it’s to ask questions about the Classes I teach.

-Ken  -214.250.6958

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