How to be an Amateur

Some people have a lot of talent, but never seem to be able to find their big break. I think there are a lot of talented musicians out there who are struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, just having talent is usually not enough to pay your bills. Perhaps you've seen the bumper sticker that says, "Real musicians have day jobs". It would be nice if having talent was enough to put food on the table, but anyone who wants to earn their money through their talent, needs to have a certain mindset in order to make it past that amateur stage, and break into the professional world of whatever area they are in.

My Mother-in-Law has a modeling agency. (The b/w picture on the right was taken by me, by the way). The agency also runs a school for children and teens who wish to become models, performers or actors in the future, called "Actors Studio". Students enrolled learn modeling, singing, dancing, acting and even taiko. The classes are held in the company's studio, where we are able to practice taiko sometimes when it is not being used for other events. A while ago, I noticed an interesting poster hanging on the wall titled "The Differences Between a Professional and an Amateur". I thought it was very interesting and whether you are striving to be a professional sports player or to create a new taiko team, the ideas would be useful to you.

So today, I am straying a bit from the "taiko" theme in order to share with you the first half of these guidelines entitled: "How to be an Amateur".

1. Be satisfied with the way things are
2. Make sure you can always find something to complain about
3. Don't worry about setting goals (short term, or long term), just take things as they come
4. If something is difficult, awkward, painful, etc. don't bother with it. It's not worth it.
5. Don't take risks, stay with what you know is safe
6. Always question your own ability. After all, there are a lot of other people out there and most of them are probably better than you at whatever you're doing.
7. Change your mind easily and often
8. Become a procrastinator and find lots of useless activities to fill up your extra time (like watching TV, playing solitaire)
9. Try not to do anything where there is a chance you could fail
10. Spend your money how you want, when you want
11. If you try something once or twice and it doesn't work, give up on it, it will probably never work
12. If something goes wrong, make sure you find out who's fault it is, and make sure they are blamed for it (because it definitely isn't YOUR fault)
13. Always compare yourself to your competitors and define your success by how you stack up to them

After reading the amateur guidelines, I think you can get a good idea of what NOT to do if you wish to make it into the professional world. Tomorrow (or more likely in a couple days) I will post the other half of the poster, "How to be a Professional".

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