Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beyond the Kit: Should you fire your doctor?

There is a certain discussion that I have with some of my students from time to time. I have jokingly called it, "Lecture 38A," because it's one of the little speeches that I've given many, many times and I have it memorized, including the usual responses from the student.

It starts something like, "Hey, have you ever thought about firing me?" The usual response is, "Huh?"

In a nutshell, here's the analogy I use:

Imagine that you go to a doctor to solve a problem. The doctor gives you an outline of the treatments and therapies you need, and a time frame. You should expect to see an improvement within, say, a month. Well, the month goes by and you don't see any change.

Why don't you see any change? There are at least two possible reasons:

  1. You aren't following the recommendations of the doctor. You're not taking the medication, following the diet, doing the exercises - whatever it is.
  2. Or, the doctor is wrong. They could be wrong about their diagnosis, the effectiveness of the treatment or something else. 
So what do you do about it? 
  1. Do what the doc tells you to do! If you're not following his instructions, can you really blame him for your lack of improvement?
  2. If you are following what the doctor tells you to do, and you're still not seeing any results, you either consult with the doctor about another course of action, or you get a second opinion. At some point, you may consider going to another doctor completely. 
In short, if it's not working, something needs to change. So, to my students, if you're not getting what you wanted/needed/expected, fire me! I'm okay with it, I really am! Because if you're not making progress, you're wasting your time, my time, and your parents' money. Not to mention the fact that we're both frustrated.

But make sure you're doing what I ask of you first. If you want to lose twenty pounds and the doc tells you to eat a certain way and exercise a certain way - do it! You can't sit on the couch and eat ice cream and then complain that this particular doctor "isn't working out."

You can't just show up for a lesson every week and expect to get good, no matter who the teacher is. 

Fact of the matter is - a teacher is just a coach. LeBron James can't blame his coach when he loses unless he did everything the coach wanted him to do. 

Look, if it's my fault you're not getting better, I can take that. But if it's your fault you need to own it, accept it, and decide if you really want what you say you want enough to do what it takes to get it.

I'm paraphrasing here, but I saw a tweet earlier this year from Nike that read something like:

Decide what you want. Then decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities, and then go to work. 

I have that written on my bathroom mirror where I can look at it every day. Because, ultimately, my success is up to me.

And your success is up to you.

Happy drumming!

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