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Join The Best In One Simple Step: The Power Of Showing Up

Join The Best In One Simple Step: The Power Of Showing Up


Every day, social media shows us six-year-old guitar virtuosos, overnight billionaires and an endless parade of brilliant and beautiful people.

Of course we know it is a mistake to compare ourselves with others. But the sad truth is that when we see how good some people play guitar, for how fast they run, etc sometimes instead of being inspired we can feel discouraged.

In fact, often people don’t even try to reach their dreams–even modest dreams–because of fear of failure and comparison.

So even though it might be a mistake to compare ourselves to others, in this blog I’m going to do just that–I’m going to show you how to be dramatically above average in one important step.


Statistically, the most impactful way to be among the best in any given arena is shockingly simple: it’s showing up!

  • Making Music: According to a Gallup poll, 82% of Americans wish they could play a musical instrument–but fewer than 10% of Americans actually do. So, the moment you pick up a guitar and start learning to play, you’ve left the 82% behind and you’ve joined the elite 10%. WOW. That is awesome!

Of course you have much to learn, but you are on a musical journey that others only dream of. So give yourself a well deserved pat on the back! You’re one of the few who do.

  • Saving Money: According to Experian, the average savings rate in the US is a bit under 3%. If you set up an automatic investment or savings draft out of your bank account or paycheck of as little as 3%, you’re literally an above average saver! (In fact, at NYC Guitar School we have a modest company savings plan–we match up to 3% of earnings in a Vanguard investment plan–so even if our teachers save as little as 3%, with the match they are saving twice as much as average!)

Are you saving at all? Perhaps you want to save more–so your probably will–but remember, you’re on a journey. Please take just a moment and give yourself a well deserved pat on the back! You’ve become one of the few who do!

  • Exercise: According to United Press International, 75% of Americans would like to be in better shape. But according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) only 22.9% of Americans get the baseline of recommended exercise.

Are you exercising at all? Quit being so hard on yourself! Even if you’d like to exercise more, if you exercise at all, even a little bit, once again you’ve become one of the few who do! Give yourself a pat on the back.

This same rule of being elite by showing up holds true in more specific cases, too, from playing in a show, to giving a speech, to writing a book or article. For example, last year, 1 out of 600 Americans started a marathon. That is pretty crazy elite right there! Never mind for a moment how you compare to the others in that elite group…if you train and make it to the starting line, you are in a super rare category.


One more important point: Until we get started, we can’t get better.

So even though it might sometimes be counterproductive to compare yourself to others, if, like me, you sometimes imagine standing in the spotlight, or holding the trophy, remember: the first step is always to make sure you have picked up your guitar or have entered the race.

And then give yourself a pat on the back.

To quote marathoner and running coach John Bingham, author of No Need for Speed : A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running:

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

If you start, you’ve joined the elite–those who do, those who try! And most importantly, you’ve joined the elite of YOU, the you that tries.

Then what will happen? Well, NYC Guitar School role model and super coach John Wooden never told his UCLA basketball team to win. But they won more championships than any team in history: He said:

Don’t worry about being better than others. Instead, just do your best.”

Do you want to play music?

And are you?

Good job!

The Shortcut To Being “Above Average” Is Showing Up!

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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, a wife, three kids, a cat and some juggling equipment.


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