It’s not the tools

“A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.'” (Stealing this great quote from Art Wolfe’s photography fan page on Facebook.)

This anecdote is about photography, but I can identify with it as an artist and as a motorcyclist, too.  How often do we find ourselves admiring someone’s skill and thinking “Well, if I had the same X that they do, I could do that, too.”  We forget that while good tools can make a task considerably easier, they don’t make up for talent, basic skills and lots and lots of practice.  If you’re not practicing, you’re not improving.  World-class dancers, athletes, motorcycle racers, photographers, artists, you name it–they all make their job look so easy that upon watching them or seeing their work we’re inspired to rush out and try it ourselves.  Some people are frustrated immediately.  Some try it just long enough to familiarize with the activity and move on.  Some dabble.  But to achieve real results we have to dedicate real effort and focus.  That’s what separates the wannabes with tool envy, from the achievers.  So get out your tools–whatever they are–and practice!

As it’s often said it the motorcycling realm, “It’s not the bike, it’s the rider.” and “A good rider can make any bike go fast.”

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