One evening after work, I wander into the new Tom Lee store that I see from my office everyday and slip into the fancy glass room that’s filled with acoustic pianos. No one pays attention to me in my t-shirt and jeans.
I play cadences on pianos that I pass by, until I stop at one to play for a short while.
“Can I help you find something?”
“No, I’m just looking,” I say, gesturing with my chin. “Baby grands.”
“You are obviously pretty good,” he says. “That was, you know, Liszt.”
I nod. I didn’t know that was Liszt. I thought I got lucky pressing the keys.
He gestures to another piano nearby — which happens to be a cheaper Steinway brand. I play it for a little bit and realize the keys are too light.
“Want to play a Steinway?”
He walks over towards one and pulls out the bench, like at a restaurant. How do I get rid of him?
Being alone for my birthday stresses me out. This realization is new, because once upon a time, I used to crave precious alone time. My family is away and my best friends are at work but I promise that your girl is not whining for a babysitter.
I look for activities that don’t involve being alone (and sad) at home watching movies.
Thinking about my dad, for example, is an activity that makes me sad in the end, but I don’t want to tell myself to not think about him. But I know if I’m alone then it will come up.
I don’t want to be dependent on anything for my own happiness, but right now, I need to be constantly focused on an activity. It’s like if you’re performing classical music onstage, and the audience is distracting. You do anything to ignore the audience because it’s irrelevant to delivering your music; you play Chopin the same way whether the audience is asleep or humming along.
“Don’t worry,” a buddy says. “We’ll do something on your birthday. So you won’t be alone.”
“If you forget,” I say, “I’ll be very sad.”
But I’m pretty sure he will forget, because that’s how he is.
I discover a small pizza shop by the waterfront with my new friends, and it’s the first time that I feel like everything might be okay. There’s one pool table beside the dart board and our cues are shorter and lighter than the standard, yet each time we turn around, the cue is poking up someone’s butt. This corner of the city is my favourite impression of Hong Kong so far: hip, but smashed.
The internet is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people because you can control how people see about you and how they act.
It doesn’t matter what you do, or what industry you’re in, psychology works with human brains.
For example, if a well-designed website can help music teachers gain more students, and help pianists sell more music.
Here are a few reasons why you need a home page right now (if you have one, then here’s why you should make sure it’s good).
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My new piano student is quite low-maintenance and I spend virtually no time prepping– which was why I took her in the first place.
My friend Kat says I am entrepreneurial, which I think is a good way to describe about my life right now.
Each month, I will be sharing different ideas from what I am involved in. It won’t be a complete account of everything I am working on, but I hope it’ll be interesting to come on this journey with me and perhaps you can learn from my challenges.
1. Be proud of your brand
I revamped my portfolio because my brand didn’t represent what I was about anymore. I’m happy with it now– I’m convinced that this is the only way a person should feel about their brand. It reflects my values and how I present myself to the world.
If you need to further understand your brand, ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing, and start from there.
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We’re kind of obsessed with the “best.”
We train in the “best” schools. Chefs cook the “best” meals.
We debate about the “best” music technique.
You might recall a typical music lesson where the teacher describes the “best” way to play a phrase– light here, mezzoforte there. And the feedback is taken badly.
Or, in a music studio, if a student is constantly cancelling lessons and asking for refunds, the teacher’s first reaction might be to fold the bills into origami boats and sail them down the river.
Here’s a conversation hack that might help you give better feedback.
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A buddy of mine is a Master at meditation.
I’ve never seen her do it, but I sensed dedication when she said, at the end of our design coaching session:
“I got more than I expected from you, but I wish we met somewhere suitable for meditation.”
When it comes to making important decisions, we all have ways to get in touch with our inner selves. Maybe it’s sprinting off at top speed. Playing Rachmaninoff on the piano. Popping a yoga video.
So let’s keep this simple: When in doubt, make music.
Maybe you can’t conjure a piano in a snap, but how creative can you get about making music? Tapping a beat on the table? Singing? Or maybe, making music means you’ll take 10 seconds to focus inside.
I designed a FREE matching background set for desktop and iPhone as daily motivation to stay happy, and stay free. Studies show that the more we see something, the more we believe it. So believe this– you are never truly stuck in one place.
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