A Different Mindset

I receive a weekly news letter from Ron Brown’s Best. Ron Brown has a wood turning store and sells tools and fixtures related to wood turning. I thought that this weeks message from him was applicable to the CNC wood working we do. Enjoy:

A Different Mindset

We all know people who just seem to succeed at whatever task they undertake, while others only succeed some of the time. I’d like to suggest that the difference is their mindset and not necessarily their individual talent or intelligence.

I’m not stupid and I’m not brilliant, but I can usually invent and reinvent things I decide are worth my time and energy when I want to. Why? I think it’s a different mindset. When I mentally work out how something should be made or designed or used, then it doesn’t work in the real world, I don’t just quit. I recognize that my current method or design failed and tell myself that I just need to try again with something a bit different, but do try again. And keep trying and making changes until I discover what does work. Then make it better and better until I’m pleased with the final design. That’s when you see it. You never see the first 8 or 10 designs that kind of work but could have been made better.

That is different than the normal mindset that tries once and fails then concludes that this idea or method won’t work – ever. They quit trying and move on to something else completely.

In turning, we build on our past experiences. When we cut through the side or bottom of what would have been a beautiful bowl or hollow form, we don’t just quit. (Yes, me too) We figure out how to gauge the wall thickness more precisely next time and try again. When we get a catch with our beautiful skew chisel, we learn why that happened and make the necessary adjustments to avoid it next time. When that wonderfully delicate finial snaps just as we are almost finished, we examine why it happened and adjust our sequence to avoid another catastrophe next time, and try again.

I’ve been a professional turner for many years now and have had the good fortune to meet many famous turners whose names you would recognize immediately. I still sign up and pay for their classes. Why? I know a lot, but I don’t know it all. There is a pretty good chance they know something I don’t and it is in my best interest to learn from them. Jimmy Clews once asked me as I took the third of his many classes why I bothered to take such a basic class when my skillset was already at such a high level? My answer was not what he was expecting; I told Jimmy that I wasn’t there for the turning lessons. I was there to watch how he taught his students so I would be a better teacher myself.

I took a David Ellsworth class just to learn what made the “Ellsworth” bowl gouge grind so special. I only got a partial answer, but that was well worth the price of the class. I’m like the billy goat that is never satisfied with what I know today, but constantly pushes to learn more, understand more, become more today than I was yesterday. My message is simple and has been said millions of times before, “Try, try, try again.” Remember that wherever you go, there you are.

Here is my inspiration for this message:

Phil 3:12-14 MSG I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Galatians 6:9, NLT So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Philippians 2:13, NLT For God is working in you, giving you the desire and power to do what pleases him.

Basic Concept:

In turning wood, you don’t really know how to do something until you’ve made 100 or more of the same thing. That gives you time to sort out what works best for you and your equipment. I shudder every time a YouTube video starts out with "I haven’t done this before. . . "


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