Rules and Variations: The Artistry of Life

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” Picasso

Over the course of my life, I’ve been called curious, philosophical, intellectual, over-thinker, bold among other things. But never a student. As a kid, I wondered about many things, not knowing I was practicing philosophy, nor what philosophy was, I just kept engaging myself in these internal dialogues. Although learning has always and will always be my first love, I never thought it to be so, largely because through high school you don’t have much choice. I wasn’t choosing to learn per se. But I chose to play football. So, by choice, Football is my first love.

Football as a sport, is a wonderful teacher. Courage, perseverance, ethics, dedication, patience, grit, resilience. All things I would pay to learn, but I was actually getting paid to learn. I began the pursuit of mastery. The one thing I learned, is that the journey is the destination. This is so, because the sacrifices we make on the pursuit to our goal teaches about who we are. We are always much more capable than we can envision for ourselves. We need each other to have journeys to share, more so than the destination post cards. Life is a professional sport, we all need to train like champions.

I’ve learned how to cook, photograph, write, tap dance, build businesses, lead a company, manage money, escape poverty, lead and follow, play football to say a few.

I’m learning to be a carpenter, play the: accordion, harmonica, electric guitar, bass guitar, air board and banjo, learning mandarin, how to create a movie, how to create the maximum social good and new things are added everyday.

To some, this all sounds like a lot. But it’s not. Everything you learn has basic rules and variations. Once you learn the rules, you master the variations, as it relates to self expression. Basic notes, basic formats, basic sequences all basic stuff binding the world together. Think about, there’s 7+ billion people and billions before us. Learning has been a mass participation activity. For things to be learned and mastered by millions, it has to be scalable, repeatable and easy to follow. So you make it basic. What’s difficult is finding the sacrifice, patience, discipline and grit required to develop the basics, to a level of mastery. Just think, Michael Jordan, Lebron James both had a moment where it was their first time touching a basketball and shooting one. Everyone has to start, but having the desire to overcome obstacles is the key to learning.

K-12 and through college, we learn multiple subjects, read from multiple books all in one day. We build up a capacity to receive and store information yet as we are done with school, many of us stop learning and start living. This is why I felt learning was my first love. Although I stopped playing football, I’ll never stop learning. It’s the gateway to everything. My learning muscles are well trained, while many allow their capacity to learn, left to atrophy.

The rule of life is that we will all die and all only get 24 hours in a day.

The variations of life are in the level of sacrifices you will make to learn. The game is always simple, it’s the strategy, operation and tactical aspects of any endeavor that control the outcomes. Know the rules and the variations so you can achieve your intended goal.

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