The Pianist and the Muse
A muse once told me that achieving greatness is as a result of three things; one-third talent, one-third character and one-third luck. As a professional concert pianist Iíve pursued this equation with energetic ambition and a lifelong commitment to success. As a result, Iíve accumulated some wisdom along the way though, I must admit Iím searching for the answers to the good luck part of the formula. Unfortunately, this particular muse didnít tell me exactly how to make the good luck part work. But Iím beginning to understand more and more each day.
In my experience, it is very difficult to get to the top on good talent alone. Many great masters die virtually unknown and only a very select few will rise to the status of true greatness. Therefore, contrary to popular belief itís not crowded at the top but very crowded at the bottom.
Many masterful pianists will continue to toil in relative obscurity while wondering the entire time why their talents continue to go unacknowledged. Perhaps they lack the good character part that the muse was talking about. But, Iím not so sure.
Historically, there have been many famous pianists that have risen to stardom and have been well known for both their great technique and their over the top diva like personalities. Their unkind behaviors, sense of entitlement and lack of compassion have often been labeled as eccentric. But I can understand their rise to stardom because this type of behaviour is perfect fodder for the media; they love drama. What else is there to write about except drama?
On the flip side, there have also been famous pianists who have been technically accomplished as well as grounded, centered, kind, generous and a pleasure to do business with. Both types have risen to the status of maestro. So then, if good talent and good character isnít the only pre-requisite to achieving greatness, what else does it take? Ah, thatís where the luck comes in.
What is luck exactly? Is it random good fortune that happens to you in certain areas of your life? Or is luck something you create by deliberate action? I can tell you that in my twenty five years as a professional pianist, I have struggled with this concept for most of that time. I am currently of the mind set that luck is something one creates through deliberate action. And perhaps that is what makes one truly great.
I think the greatest skill a pianist could ever achieve is self-mastery over oneís reality or the ability create oneís own reality. Self-mastery translates into effortless mastery or effortless creation which is; the ultimate ability to create without fear, without judgment and without thought. Therefore without the ability to accept that ultimate mastery over oneís own reality is truly possible then luck cannot exist.
But, how does one achieve mastery over oneís own reality? You can create your own reality by focusing entirely on what you do want as opposed to what you donít. Many people focus all the time on what they donít want such as; no money, no work, no recognition and no life. They sit around and wait for things to happen while all the while blaming others for their misfortunes. If you focus on these things youíll just end up with more of what you donít want.
Conversely, those who focus on what they do want tend to get more of what they want. If you focus on a big goal or a big dream and take the necessary steps to achieve it without worrying about failure youíll eventually get most of, if not all, what you do want.
The muse is right. The keys to success are an abundance of talent, good character and good luck. But, the luck part can be created through deliberate action. Fitting thoughts for anyone who seeks to become a true master.
About the Author: Paul Tobey has performed as a concert pianist all over the world. His recent CDs include Christmas music and popular piano music for mainstream audiences.