Monday, January 15, 2007

Mastery (part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post on mastery.

Dave Ramsey (and others) says, “If you want to be rich, do rich-people stuff.” From that, I say if you want to be a Godly person, identify and do the things Godly people do. Fitness—same thing, adopt the habits of fit people—and if you want to be a great puppeteer then study and do the things great puppeteers do.

Begin your study by reading books, searching on-line resources or talking to people who just know. In puppetry (this is a puppetry blog after all), there are many avenues of to pursue; different types of puppetry, script writing, design and building are just a few of the many areas under the puppetry umbrella.

For example, I’ve said countless times that puppet ministries should strive to do better with their puppetry. This begins with study. For example, manipulation is a fairly basic skill to learn, but if you go one step further and begin to study the techniques of professional puppeteers and ponder the specific details of what makes one puppeteers operation better than another’s, you can then adapt that discovery into your manipulation style. Continued study and analysis followed by internalization will greatly improve your success.

Be advised that study alone will not lead to mastery. The “thought” must accompany the study. There must also be a caution against imitation; Jim Henson warned of this when he said, “I think if you study, if you learn too much of what others have done, you may tend to take the same direction as everybody else.” The key is to study, contemplate then build your own conclusions and ideas based on what you learn. Sir Isaac Newton called this “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Allow the information to spark new ideas and thoughts that led to your own formulation and adaptation.

I don’t know who originally said “The difference between who you are today and the person you will be five years from now is dependent on the books you read and what you learn.” That may be the best way to end my ramblings. Granted, it may take more than five years to master some things and some people devote their entire lives to mastery of a particular field. Nevertheless, a wise person will begin today to become the master they wish to be.

As I write, however, I am reminded Paul’s letter to the Philippians. “I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.” Philippians 3:12-14msg Paul was not calling himself a master Christian and I’m not calling myself a master puppeteer, master theologian, master financier or master-anything. We learn by degree and I am somewhere between here and there sharing my thoughts.

This started with the idea, “You are what you study.” What are you destined to become? What do you want to master? What will you study?

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