Goal by goal: lessons from a real-life Geisha

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who just happens to be a geiko, a trainer of maiko, who are themselves trainee geisha. I was interested in her teaching style and philosophy, and here’s one thing she told me.

It’s about tiny goals that build into bigger goals.

To be a maiko you need to be able to perform between 30 and 50 songs. It takes a long time to remember these, obviously. The songs also change by the season so they are constantly rotating the songs they both practice and perform.

The maiko perform at the Maiko Teahouse and Hina Doll Gallery Somaro, and by request at places all around the region (and sometimes even overseas).

Each performance becomes its own little goal. The maiko are tasked with mastering certain songs by the performance date, and that gives them something specific to work towards.

I really love this. Not just learning for the sake of learning, but learning for a specific goal you have in mind, it really helps the brain focus more.

Of course there is also the overarching goal, to be able to perform the 30-50 songs necessary, for example. And I think to be ‘successful’ we need both. These little goals just make it easier to attain in my view.

It’s why practical education is so valuable. Not just learning a language for the sake of learning a language, but learning it for going overseas (hopefully soon!!), or as my friend put it to me learning to make a website to actually make a website.

So, take the lesson of the geisha. If you have a bigger goal, try to separate it into specific times when you are required to perform. Give yourself a set deadline to be ready by, and then work towards it!

P.S. I will be talking about this in more depth in my newsletter for this week. Sign up for Mountains of Wisdom at timbunting.com/newsletter.

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