I Found the Silver Bullet!


I remember being in music school and not having any drive to practice. I’m embarrassed to say that it lasted for quite a long stretch. I constantly looked for the quick fix that would allow me to play with a better sound, play higher notes, or perfect the section of the solo I was working on.  I wanted to get to the promised land of great playing ASAP.

Every time a new mouthpiece came on the market I rushed to the store to try it out, hoping that this would be the equipment that fixes my issues.  When some of the greatest musicians came out with their “ultimate practice routine” I thought to myself, “this is it….the cure-all for what ails me!”.

Alas, the mouthpiece only brought temporary confidence until my old bad habits came out again; the practice routine was more like a wear out routine since I didn’t have the skills to begin with.

I think it’s easy for you readers to relate my musical example to stuff you have going on in your life…You get the point.

But now, everybody…..after all these years….I have finally found the silver bullet that I have been looking for:


Consistent and deliberate hard work.


Nike has it right:  Just Do It.

That’s the silver bullet my friends, and it is the cornerstone of my teaching and my way of life now.  My students (for the most part) work harder and more confidently than I ever did as a kid, because they have one thing internalized that I have drilled into them:  “You are going to sound like crap at first, but as you keep practicing it consistently and correctly it will sound better”.  What a freaking concept.

Again, substitute any area of your life for music and that phrase goes something like:

“This is going to be a shock to your system right now.  It may feel crappy and you may feel like you can’t do it, but do a little bit every day and it will get better and easier.”

All people who have done great things and who have brought about significant change in their life probably couldn’t do those things that well at first, but could do it better over time after going at it with consistency.  Knowing this fact should help us to get started on our own individual journeys.  We, too, can do this…what ever “this” is.

The simplicity of consistently working at something in any area of our lives until it gets better sounds way easier than it is.  Here’s why:

  • To get better, you have to eat some serious humble pie; sometimes on a daily basis.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to admit you suck at something (or you flat out can’t do something) sometimes.
  • Consistency = boring if you are not careful to craft a routine that is engaging.
  • At some point, you will have to fight through normal human tendencies such as procrastination and laziness. Not easy.
  • People you associate with may try to (unconsciously) drag you down and make you believe change is impossible.
  • You have to schedule for consistency (more on this in another post).

So, if you are like me and trying to get out of debt, get in shape, un-clutter your life, learn new things, organize your time, or whatever…

You just found the silver bullet.


  1. I used to be the same way playing guitar – if only I had more distortion or a better guitar. Always something else that would make me sound better. But I would be just hiding my flaws. Playing acoustic showed where I needed work. Your instrument and such are tools to help bring out your work. It’s your daily practice that helps you grow. Most times it’s incremental but every now and then you get an exponential breakthrough but you only get those when you put in the work.

    • Very cool that you are a fellow musician! Yes, you are correct: The other piece of the puzzle is that at first the progress is fast and furious, then it evens out. That’s when the intestinal fortitude and patience needs to kick in. The gains are small, but the consistency helps the huge “breakthroughs” happen!

  2. Humble pie, yes. I’ve been eating it for a while and, I must say, I see things differently and I’m even more aware. For that, I’m grateful.

    • Some people go their whole life without being more aware, Janine. Consider yourself lucky; I do as well! It doesn’t matter when you get it….just so you get it.

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