Michael Jackson's Wrist Flicks

(From archived lianprice.com blog, circa April 2015.)

Happy Hump Day Fit Fam! Happy Earth Day too! 

Are you a Master of anything? Do you want to be? Do you want to be a Master Teacher, a Master Engineer, a Master Poet? What about the Master of your own body? 

I have had the pleasure of meeting Masters in my life thus far. Each and every time I do, I am extremely humbled. I have met Master Moms and Master Dads. I have met a Master Chef, a Master Investor, and Master Bodybuilders. Master Dancers and Master DJ’s. A Master Jiu–Jitsu Champion, a Master Barista and Master Surgeons. 

Each Master is the owner of his or her craft and a valuable contributor to society at large.

How can you not be humbled in the presence of such awesomeness?!?! These individuals have literally devoted their lives to their incredible work. They have made sacrifices, have gone deep into their zone countless times, and have remained so razor–sharp focused despite many inherent obstacles. 

And so I am duly inspired. And motivated. And antsy and a little pissed off.

Geez. Why such an irrational and nonsensical reaction? Trust me, I wish I could change it. I am pissed off only at myself, because I think, “Why am I not there yet? Why am I not yet too the Master of my own life’s work?” 

As badly as I want it, I know that Mastery cannot be rushed. As badly as I wish to will it into existence right NOW, it’s just not possible. 

Only when hard work, consistency and passion are layered evenly over a prolonged period of time does a Master get to be born.

Michael Jackson was said to have practiced the same move over and over and over again in front of the mirror. If the move involved flicking his wrist, he would repeat it hundreds of times, and each time if the wrist movement was slightly different from what he was aiming for, he would do it again until it was exactly the same “flick” every time. 

To the untrained eye, every practice move probably looked 100% stage-worthy! You or I watching Michael do this may not have been able to tell the difference from one wrist flick to the next. 

But Michael could. Because he was a master.

To master your craft, I believe you must seek to be better than anyone else in your field, and provide more than value than anyone else EVER has before. And to give more, you simply MUST become more. There’s no way around it. I believe you must put in countless hours of concentrated effort in service to others, and be absolutely relentless in your own self-improvement. 

I say “believe” because I don’t yet think of myself as a master. Yes, I want to be, and I work like hell every day of the week to be. But I also know my Master training is far from complete. I believe I have many more years of service to go before reaching the level of greatness I am after. Before I deserve to stand among the elite I have listed above. 

I am impatient, yes, always, I can’t help it. But I am so excited too. I love the climb. I fell in love with the process a long time ago. 

I also don’t want to think of myself as a master because I am terrified of “arriving.” In nature, nothing is stagnant. An apple does not stay perfectly ripe, not even for a week’s time. It is either ripening or it is rotting. I can’t shake the thought that as soon as I think I am perfectly ripe, I will start to rot.

The remedy to this? Always be ripening. Always be growing, reaching, eager to learn more. Always be willing to “flick your wrist” a couple thousand times more. 

Why? What’s the point? Because an amateur who completes 2,000 flicks of his wrist will think they all look the same. A Master will see all 2,000 them as slightly different.

So be eager to seek out the subtle nuances in your work. Take joy in each and every movement, every “flick.” Even though you have completed so many of them already, you must be ready, willing, antsy, and yes even pissed off enough to always do a few thousand more.

I also believe Masters, in their own heads and in their own work, are still climbing the climb as well. The very best in the world do not give up their daily grind once they have been deemed by society as “successful.” Rather, they wake up each morning looking forward to it. They absolutely love what they do, and this only further enhances their level of Mastery. 

So I say to you, let’s never peak. Let’s become more, so you can keep giving more back. And let’s never be hesitant to adjust our wrist flicks, to look in the mirror and do those next 2,000 repetitions, because they are a necessary part of the Mastery journey; making those small, but oh so vital changes along the way.

Love, love LOVE your grind. Fall in love with the process and don’t ever be afraid to adjust your path so you can keep moving forward. Pay attention and hone your craft. Be relentless and passionate. Keep your personal standards so high, even when everyone else around you tells you you’re already stage-worthy. Demand your very best from yourself, every single day. Become the Master of your life, because only you have the ability to do so. 

I’m signing off with one of my favorite quotes. Have a great day!

“No person is free who is not the master of himself.” –Epictetus