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What Have You Done For Yourself Lately?

(**Your(future)self, that is!)

Dear Guitar Student,

Last night I walked into my son’s room, grabbed his guitar, and started jamming on some Ozzy Osbourne while he did homework and listened to music.

Shockingly, his taste in music is not identical to mine. “Dad,” he complained, “if you’re going to play guitar, can you at least play along with the songs I’m listening to?”

“Sure,” I said, and started jamming. It was so fun–slide to a note, figure out the key, start playing along with the chords, improvise over the tune….

“Wow!” I thought, “How do I even do this? How can I listen to a song and instantly play along, in tune, in real time?”

It seemed kinda tricky–way too tricky for me to figure out on the spur of the moment. Luckily, somebody else had already done the hard work of learning how, so that I could coast.

Who was that masked super guitar player?

That tricky guitar playing had already been figured out by my biggest ally and my best supporter–the person I used to be. I call him Past Dan. He was the one who practiced guitar for a couple thousand hours. Now I can just coast on his efforts, nonchalantly jamming along on songs I’ve never heard before!

This same guy, Past Dan, keeps showing up in my life!

In fact, the reason I’m thinking about this topic is because this morning I stumbled across an interview with Past Dan (circa 2006). In the interview, which I had completely forgotten about, Past Dan explains how he recently started a guitar school with a goal of reaching 100 students. He’s amazed because the school just passed 300 students.

I wonder what he would think if he could see me, his “Future Dan”, working with a team of 50 teachers and over 3,000 students? I hope he’d be proud! But one thing I know for sure, I’m in his debt. I’m grateful for his maniacal focus!

It isn’t just 10-years-ago Past Dan who looks out for me. Just this morning when I ran to the train, I realized that Past Dan had thoughtfully filled up a transit card for me in advance. “Good Job, Past Dan,” I told him. “Well done!”

It hasn’t all been good, though. The truth is, Past Dan sometimes hurt me, like when he made a couple bad financial decisions or got me into some tough scrapes, or makes me want to bang my head into a wall when I remember something embarrassing he did. Paradoxically, I also wish he’d taken a few more risks and dreamed bigger. But on balance, I appreciate the guy!

Like me, maybe you have an imperfect relationship with your past self. Maybe they weren’t always looking out your best interest. But I bet they did a lot of things that were great…in fact, they totally deserve some appreciation!

Right now take a moment to thank your(past)self. Thank them:

  • for taking that chance
  • for doing that work
  • for being there at the right time
  • for doing whatever it is they did that is making your life better right now.

Say “Hey, that was awesome. You did a great job, there! Thank you! You totally rock!”

None of us make it on our own. Any success and happiness and impact we achieve is tied up with a lot of other forces and people. But there is no doubt that for most adults, the person other than our current self who exerts the biggest influence on our situation is our very own past self.

That means that you have the power to dramatically affect someone’s future situation, skills and maybe even happiness–not just anybody, but somebody really important–you! You are absolutely incredibly influential, because you are about to be your OWN PAST SELF.

So, what are you going to do for YOU today? I don’t mean for your(now)self. I mean, what are you going to do for your(FUTURE)self?

Practice guitar? Sign up for a cool experience? Learn something? Say “hi” to somebody?

Hmmmm, I bet my future self would like it if I wrote a blog post today!

Do something nice for yourself today, okay?
 
 
On to greatness,
 
 
Dan Emery
Founder, NYC Guitar School

Dan Emery is dedicated to Coaching Personal Greatness, One Lesson At A Time. He is the founder of NYC’s friendliest and fastest growing guitar schools, New York City Guitar School, Brooklyn Guitar School, Queens Guitar School and NYC Guitar School, East, and the author of the Amazon best-selling Guitar For Absolute Beginners and six other books on learning guitar and deliberate practice. He coaches new entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator program and especially enjoys helping other Educational Entrepreneurs. He has a Masters in Education from Columbia University Teachers College, extensive performing experience as songwriter and guitarist for The Dan Emery Mystery Band, three kids, and some juggling equipment.

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