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KEEP YOUR STANDARDS HIGH with Jocko Willink

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PijRNkuINvs[/embedyt]

PSS | Your Pre Set Standards

Bowing to the best within yourself means to STEP UP by living the standards that will elevate your rise. But how to do this consistently, especially on the days that you just don’t have the drive for it? Motivation is great, but it DOESN’T LAST. This is where a grade to continually level yourself up against is essential. We always measure what matters. To set the bar high for yourself, populate your life with mentors that demonstrate consistent excellence through actions. Mentors can be alive or dead, you may know them personally or not.

One person that holds himself up to the highest of standards is retired Navy SEAL and author Jocko Willink. In this video blog I’ll share his run through of a tool he uses to measure himself towards, the USMC Fitness report used for Navy SEALS to grade where they’re at in all areas of leadership and character. This document is the ultimate PSS to hold yourself to.

What is a PSS? It’s a pre (beforehand) set (decided upon) standard (level of excellence you hold yourself to). A pre set standard is a way of being we are going to rise up to, step up and live out through our actions. Having a PSS will fuel your actions. If it’s your standard to exercise first thing when you wake up in the morning, then to make this happen you may sleep in your exercise clothes to immediately leap out of bed and start moving. If it’s a standard to cut down sugar, then you may purge it from all your cupboards beforehand so it’s not there to tempt you. If it’s a standard to get better sleep, you might clear all the technology out of your bedroom to cultivate more peace and silence. These are standards you decide on beforehand, and then unfold through your environment and actions. We establish this BEFORE going in, so in the moment there’s no indecision about what to do next or willpower needed to stay the path, but only action to stick to the standards we’ve already committed to. A PSS is something we can always go back to to guide our thoughts, words, and actions. To really live them and stand behind them, they must be an extension of who you are. You can’t live anyone else’s if your heart’s not in it. Below are the pre set standards that make up the LTR method, but take what works for you, and also add your own!

KEEP YOUR STANDARDS HIGH with Jocko Willink

Bowing to the best within yourself means to STEP UP by living the standards that will elevate your rise. But how to do this consistently, especially on the days that you just don’t have the drive for it? Motivation is great, but it DOESN’T LAST. This is where a grade to continually level yourself up against is essential. We always measure what matters. To set the bar high for yourself, populate your life with mentors that demonstrate consistent excellence through actions. Mentors can be alive or dead, you may know them personally or not.

One person that holds himself up to the highest of standards is retired Navy SEAL and author Jocko Willink. In this video blog I’ll share his run through of a tool he uses to measure himself towards, the USMC Fitness report used for Navy SEALS to grade where they’re at in all areas of leadership and character. This document is the ultimate PSS to hold yourself to.

What is a PSS? It’s a pre (beforehand) set (decided upon) standard (level of excellence you hold yourself to). A pre set standard is a way of being we are going to rise up to, step up and live out through our actions. Having a PSS will fuel your actions. If it’s your standard to exercise first thing when you wake up in the morning, then to make this happen you may sleep in your exercise clothes to immediately leap out of bed and start moving. If it’s a standard to cut down sugar, then you may purge it from all your cupboards beforehand so it’s not there to tempt you. If it’s a standard to get better sleep, you might clear all the technology out of your bedroom to cultivate more peace and silence. These are standards you decide on beforehand, and then unfold through your environment and actions. We establish this BEFORE going in, so in the moment there’s no indecision about what to do next or willpower needed to stay the path, but only action to stick to the standards we’ve already committed to. A PSS is something we can always go back to to guide our thoughts, words, and actions. To really live them and stand behind them, they must be an extension of who you are. You can’t live anyone else’s if your heart’s not in it. Below are the pre set standards that make up the LTR method, but take what works for you, and also add your own!

‘Still I Rise’ | LTR voice and drums

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QI3_2AQwXY[/embedyt]

To find our best selves through drumming, WHO WE ARE must come out through each note. LTR is ‘Life Through Rhythm’, where our words, actions, and character creates the art. We play who we are! The traits we can learn from outstanding people to shine through our drumming, is just as powerful as learning techniques and grooves. Using the stories of great people to inspire us combined with the impact of drumming, is a potent combination. The first of this series is from Maya Angelou’s spoken word ‘Still I Rise’. Let this uplift you as you become your best self through drumming!

Bass, trumpet, soundscapes, and arrangement by modus factor (Brownman, Ian De Souza, Chris Lesso), from the album The Picasso Zone. The poem Still I Rise spoken by Maya Angelou.

Mike Mangini’s SYSTEMS and TACTICS

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWUHwy6V49c[/embedyt]

I am excited to share this with you! This is a conversation I had with Mike Mangini where he reveals his systems and tactics, pulled from the archives of 2002. In my years of being the eternal student of drumming and life, I’ve always strived to spend time with some of the best in the world and compress time by using the habits and strategies that work best for the greats into my own game, and now you can too. What makes this interview compelling, is that we have almost 20 years of hindsight to see how these systems and habits compound over time in Mike’s drumming and life. This is a powerful concept! I am 100% interested not just in the best for today, but in the LONG GAME. Not many can live SUSTAINED GREATNESS, and Mike Mangini exemplifies this. Some of Mike’s methods for developing his best self through drumming include:

– Living the highest standards of EXCELLENCE.
– Living with urgency and a mighty mission. This is THE WHY of what we do.
– Studying outside disciplines BESIDES drumming, like business, time management, the human brain and body, and self discipline.
– Giving the utmost attention to DETAILS. They matter!
– Ultimate trust and belief in what sets you apart. Your personal DIFFERENTIATION.
– OPEN HANDED drumming, using the ‘all limbs equal’ approach.
– Living with NO LIMITS.
– Surrounding yourself with MENTORS, and stealing from the best in the world.
– Having FRONT SITE FOCUS in all we do.

Enjoy spending some time with Mike Mangini, and take the energy, artistry, and passion into your best self through drumming!

Mike Mangini’s SYSTEMS and TACTICS

I am excited to share this with you! This is a conversation I had with Mike Mangini where he reveals his systems and tactics, pulled from the archives of 2002. In my years of being the eternal student of drumming and life, I’ve always strived to spend time with some of the best in the world and compress time by using the habits and strategies that work best for the greats into my own game, and now you can too. What makes this interview compelling, is that we have almost 20 years of hindsight to see how these systems and habits compound over time in Mike’s drumming and life. This is a powerful concept! I am 100% interested not just in the best for today, but in the LONG GAME. Not many can live SUSTAINED GREATNESS, and Mike Mangini exemplifies this. Some of Mike’s methods for developing his best self through drumming include:
  • Living the highest standards of EXCELLENCE.
  • Living with urgency and a mighty mission. This is THE WHY of what we do.
  • Studying outside disciplines BESIDES drumming, like business, time management, the human brain and body, and self discipline.
  • Giving the utmost attention to DETAILS. They matter!
  • Ultimate trust and belief in what sets you apart. Your personal DIFFERENTIATION.
  • OPEN HANDED drumming, using the ‘all limbs equal’ approach.
  • Living with NO LIMITS.
  • Surrounding yourself with MENTORS, and stealing from the best in the world.
  • Having FRONT SITE FOCUS in all we do.
Enjoy spending some time with Mike Mangini, and take the energy, artistry, and passion into your best self through drumming!

How NOT To Get Fired From Your Band

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7Y-ssLvfx8[/embedyt]

This is a story from my hometown about how I was innocently and unknowingly doing everything possible to get myself fired from the first pro gig I ever had. What was I doing so badly that was practically guaranteeing I would never play with this band again? Find out the concepts I learned the hard way so YOU don’t have to. See how you rate in each of the four areas to take your drumming and life to the next level. Unless you master them, you are guaranteed to get fired from your next gig! Through the power of drumming, we want to be the SERVANT LEADER by contributing to something greater than ourselves: the song, the band, and the groove that lives in the creative spirit of all music. Find your best self through drumming, and DON’T GET FIRED!

How NOT To Get Fired From Your Band

This is a story from my hometown about how I was innocently and unknowingly doing everything possible to get myself fired from the first pro gig I ever had. What was I doing so badly that was practically guaranteeing I would never play with this band again? Find out the concepts I learned the hard way so YOU don’t have to. See how you rate in each of the four areas to take your drumming and life to the next level. Unless you master them, you are guaranteed to get fired from your next gig! Through the power of drumming, we want to be the SERVANT LEADER by contributing to something greater than ourselves: the song, the band, and the groove that lives in the creative spirit of all music. Find your best self through drumming, and DON’T GET FIRED!

What we can learn from Neil Peart

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUxWON_en9w[/embedyt]

Like every drummer on the planet, I was impacted by the artistry and craftsmanship of Neil Peart’s drumming. When I was 9, after months of begging my parents declared a big NO to me bringing a drumset into the house. At the time I was far less enthusiastically taking piano lessons, but I really REALLY wanted my own drums. After weeks of relentlessly asking, manipulating, negotiating, my Dad finally took me out and bought me a hihat. I didn’t get an ENTIRE set until I was 12, but for some reason I still don’t know to this day, my Dad got me only a lone hihat. Why not a practice pad or a snare drum, but just a HIHAT is a mystery. Later, I had to creatively expand the rest of the set out of chairs, books, anything that worked to grow my homemade drumset out of the nucleus of my hihat. This was actually really fun, and I have some great memories of jamming on my own contraption. So as we drove home with my brand new hihat in the back seat we stopped to get gas, and I can remember the gas station attendant (he was a teenager but seemed so much older to me) noticed the hihat in the car and shouted ‘Whoa, you’re a drummer! I play too. You have to check out NEIL PEART. He’s the best. You’ll love him!’ He was so enthusiastic, and was a proud member of the cult of Rush. This was my introduction to Neil Peart, which grew to help shape who I am today.

This story echoes so many similar ones of Neil’s impact to drummers globally. He inspired others to practice and push themselves, and gave us all permission to be OURSELVES. ‘We play who we are’, and living LTR is all about bridging the gap between striving for our human potential to find our best selves in drumming. Neil lived this every day. Life is fragile, and like the rest of the world I was so unexpectedly shaken by Neil’s passing. I have always been a fan of everything he strove to put out in the world, and I wanted to share with you the best LTR qualities we can learn from him to take into our own lives and become our best selves through drumming.

HUMOUR
Neil always had a slight smile on his face, and loved to laugh. Yes he was serious on the drums, but he saw the humour in what he did … we’re only hitting metal and wood with sticks after all!

EXCELLENCE
He had the very highest standards of excellence in everything he did. We was hard on himself, always striving to give his absolute best, and truly cared about how the level of his artistry impacted others.

AUTHENTICITY
Not being afraid to be WEIRD is so important, and Neil lived his life with the courage to be himself. From the early days image and approach of Rush, to his lyric writing, to his obsessive motorcycling adventures, Neil brought together so many areas of life that had not been combined in such a way before.

CONSISTENCY
In LTR we are playing the game of LONGEVITY. It’s one thing to create success, but it’s another to SUSTAIN it for the long game. Neil brought a love of reading, spending time with his family, and renewing himself by being in nature to balance the high standards he demanded from himself and to keep it going for a lifetime. When you compound consistency over years and years, the level of excellence you can achieve will stagger your imagination!

BEGINNER’S MIND
Neil was a life long student. His humility to start taking lessons far into his career, and then to venture out into the unknown world of playing jazz to add more swing pulse to his groove, is inspiring to anyone that is a curious student of life.

NO DRAMA
Rush had over 40 (!) plus years of no scandals, no crazy stories, no damaging lawsuits or anything resembling the high drama of some other band’s careers. To play the long game is to cultivate a REPUTATION through having a vision, living with intention, and taking daily actions. Your own reputation comes down to a question: what do people say about you when you’re not in the room? Everyone I’ve ever met that knew them always had something good to say about Neil and the rest of the band. Give yourself the standard of not speaking badly about anyone. We’re all trying our best and fighting our own battles. Neil also surrounded himself with great people, and always gave back to those around him.

And there are so many more! Share your own stories and lessons with others that you learned from Neil over the years. We are lucky to live in a world where Neil’s artistry enriches our lives. He impacted the world through his passion in what he created. Life is fragile. Stay inspired, and live the LTR path through drumming for your best self every day.

What we can learn from Neil Peart

Like every drummer on the planet, I was impacted by the artistry and craftsmanship of Neil Peart’s drumming. When I was 9, after months of begging my parents declared a big NO to me bringing a drumset into the house. At the time I was far less enthusiastically taking piano lessons, but I really REALLY wanted my own drums. After weeks of relentlessly asking, manipulating, negotiating, my Dad finally took me out and bought me a hihat. I didn’t get an ENTIRE set until I was 12, but for some reason I still don’t know to this day, my Dad got me only a lone hihat. Why not a practice pad or a snare drum, but just a HIHAT is a mystery. Later, I had to creatively expand the rest of the set out of chairs, books, anything that worked to grow my homemade drumset out of the nucleus of my hihat. This was actually really fun, and I have some great memories of jamming on my own contraption. So as we drove home with my brand new hihat in the back seat we stopped to get gas, and I can remember the gas station attendant (he was a teenager but seemed so much older to me) noticed the hihat in the car and shouted ‘Whoa, you’re a drummer! I play too. You have to check out NEIL PEART. He’s the best. You’ll love him!’ He was so enthusiastic, and was a proud member of the cult of Rush. This was my introduction to Neil Peart, which grew to help shape who I am today.

This story echoes so many similar ones of Neil’s impact to drummers globally. He inspired others to practice and push themselves, and gave us all permission to be OURSELVES. ‘We play who we are’, and living LTR is all about bridging the gap between striving for our human potential to find our best selves in drumming. Neil lived this every day. Life is fragile, and like the rest of the world I was so unexpectedly shaken by Neil’s passing. I have always been a fan of everything he strove to put out in the world, and I wanted to share with you the best LTR qualities we can learn from him to take into our own lives and become our best selves through drumming.

HUMOUR
Neil always had a slight smile on his face, and loved to laugh. Yes he was serious on the drums, but he saw the humour in what he did … we’re only hitting metal and wood with sticks after all!

EXCELLENCE
He had the very highest standards of excellence in everything he did. We was hard on himself, always striving to give his absolute best, and truly cared about how the level of his artistry impacted others.

AUTHENTICITY
Not being afraid to be WEIRD is so important, and Neil lived his life with the courage to be himself. From the early days image and approach of Rush, to his lyric writing, to his obsessive motorcycling adventures, Neil brought together so many areas of life that had not been combined in such a way before.

CONSISTENCY
In LTR we are playing the game of LONGEVITY. It’s one thing to create success, but it’s another to SUSTAIN it for the long game. Neil brought a love of reading, spending time with his family, and renewing himself by being in nature to balance the high standards he demanded from himself and to keep it going for a lifetime. When you compound consistency over years and years, the level of excellence you can achieve will stagger your imagination!

BEGINNER’S MIND
Neil was a life long student. His humility to start taking lessons far into his career, and then to venture out into the unknown world of playing jazz to add more swing pulse to his groove, is inspiring to anyone that is a curious student of life.

NO DRAMA
Rush had over 40 (!) plus years of no scandals, no crazy stories, no damaging lawsuits or anything resembling the high drama of some other band’s careers. To play the long game is to cultivate a REPUTATION through having a vision, living with intention, and taking daily actions. Your own reputation comes down to a question: what do people say about you when you’re not in the room? Everyone I’ve ever met that knew them always had something good to say about Neil and the rest of the band. Give yourself the standard of not speaking badly about anyone. We’re all trying our best and fighting our own battles. Neil also surrounded himself with great people, and always gave back to those around him.

And there are so many more! Share your own stories and lessons with others that you learned from Neil over the years. We are lucky to live in a world where Neil’s artistry enriches our lives. He impacted the world through his passion in what he created. Life is fragile. Stay inspired, and live the LTR path through drumming for your best self every day.

 

Victory First: CELEBRATE THE WINS In Drumming and Life

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k27o3On_eU[/embedyt]

*This is an excerpt from ‘LTR METHOD: Unleashing Your Best Self Through The Power Of Drumming’. Get it now to elevate your drumming and life at chrislesso.com

We forget to celebrate the little wins, the small milestones! Give yourself this gift. This translates to life in just being able to celebrate a simple cup of perfect coffee, watching nature’s art in the clouds misting through the sky, or seeing the radiance of colour in a flower. Stop and celebrate the little wins! There are many if you look. Where focus goes energy flows, and what you concentrate on WILL get better over time, incrementally page by page. Take a breath to notice this, and congratulate yourself! Tell yourself something great like ‘I rock’, or ‘great job’. Getting in the habit of celebrating the small wins primes you for more energy, to have more fun in the process (which is the FUEL), and to notice and acknowledge that you ARE making improvement. These incremental baby steps forward toward building your best self are easy to miss, and start getting into the ’shoulds’: I should be better, I should have got that by now. This is not the way forward to growing long term. Anyone that has been in the room with me studying the art of drumming knows there’s a lot of celebrating! Fist bumps, high fives, saying ‘YES!’, laughing, making your ‘Super Bowl’ pose moves, dancing and jumping around. Give yourself this gift!

The wins are happening for you, but your mind must be trained to SEE them, and then to revel in the awesomeness of it! Drums are an incredible instrument to play, so when the wins happen they feel really good, and you deserve to enjoy them. Celebrating the wins is the counterweight to ’embracing the suck’. Drums are supposed to be FUN, and celebrating the wins is what is on the other side of the grit needed to go through the slow grinding hard work of learning the craft. Give yourself this gift! Having FUN is the bedrock and fuel that will carry us forward LONG TERM. I want you to be drumming when you’re 110 years young, and to realize your own personal greatness through drumming everyday.

PRACTICE your drumming DAILY (featuring deadmau5 drum cover)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqXTwCtEg0[/embedyt]

*This is an excerpt from ‘LTR METHOD: Unleashing Your Best Self Through The Power Of Drumming’. Get it now to elevate your drumming and life at chrislesso.com

Small actions done over and over again with your best effort will add up to massive results! The 3MR (the 3 minute rule) uses the power of compounding by locking in an action so many times it goes beyond a habit and becomes a part of your DNA. Over time it solidifies into a lifestyle of who you are, and who you grow into. Especially if you’re in your first year, this will lay the foundation to improve in tiny evolutions over time that you will hardly notice, instead of the giant revolutions that so many people expect and buy into. The powerful idea here is even if you only get to your craft briefly in the day (even 3 minutes) these little bits will add up, and then you are tapping into the massive wave of the compound effect. This consistency leads to freedom of expression on the drums! Lowering your expectations to a ridiculously small amount of time like 3 minutes takes the wind out of any excuse the resistance your brain will try to give you to get out of practicing and stay where it’s safe and comfortable. Your brain will always fight you when you are trying to cause any change, and having a goal as small as 3 minutes is a way to ‘fool’ your brain to get around the resistance. What’s 3 minutes? Everyone can find this time! Lower your expectations, and JUST DO IT. One you’ve done the same action enough times, this forges the habit of ACTION into your life, and this becomes your new normal.

LME | Last Mile Excellence for Drumming & Life (with Josh Waitzkin)

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj9fQTMxz2Y[/embedyt]

*This is an excerpt from ‘LTR METHOD: Unleashing Your Best Self Through The Power Of Drumming’. Get it now to elevate your drumming and life at chrislesso.com

It’s easy to be your best in the beginning. You’re fired up, motivated, ready to go! But what do you do when you’re on that last mile, depleted and hurting? This is actually the MOST important time to give your best. The end of the race during the very last mile is when you will most feel like surrendering, cutting corners, and settling for less. When you have nothing left to give, this is exactly the time to give 100% and END STRONG. How you perform when it’s hardest is a true reflection of where you’re REALLY at. You’re also giving yourself signals of how badly you really want to achieve what you’re building. This is where most people give up! How you END is the most important step, because it always carries forward into your next BEGINNING.

‘Give the highest quality to your last actions.’

The end is when you will least feel like giving your best, but make it a PSS (pre-set standard) to keep kicking ass until your very last moments. When you least feel like giving your best is exactly the time to do it! End the day with quality. The last action you complete of the day will be the clearest in your mind as you start the next day. The way you end one cycle will determine how you start the next. You don’t want your mind to internalize lowering your standards going into a fresh new day. This carries over to the little things as well, where the end of one action determines the next in a chain. LME is an attitude put forth in all you do. It is easy to THINK about, and harder to actually DO and put into ACTION. This is about setting yourself up for the WIN!

The end of the race is when your brain and body are screaming at you to stop. You think ‘why am I putting myself through this anyway?’ When it’s hardest, in the moments when you will WANT to quit, your WHY is what will get you through. Have you taken time to reflect on why you are putting yourself through this challenge? Giving to a cause larger than yourself can add great fuel to your overall why, carrying you through the daily battles of life. I know in my heart drums and music are so much larger than me, so ‘the instrument always wins’. Drumming to me is about the heartbeat of expression and creativity to always serve the music. A lesser reason like playing drums to impress others or competing to serve your ego will not get you through the rough times ahead. What does this all mean to you, and what is your larger WHY and over arcing MISSION?

LME is not only in your grand endings, but also in the littlest of actions as well. One of my favorite groups is the KODO drummers from Japan. The way they approach their craft with dedication, respect, tenacity, grit, perseverance, and fearless creativity has made a massive impact on me over the years that continues to this day. KODO approaches their drumming and art with QUALITY in the SMALLEST OF ACTIONS. It’s in how they carry themselves, how they do the little things. One thing I noticed early on that struck me, was how they put DOWN their drumsticks after they played. Most drummers pay this no mind, and the worst example of a scattered ending is when drummers just throw their sticks on the floor mindlessly as they walk away from the kit. In a martial arts Dojo this would simply be ‘UNSAT’ (unsatisfactory), in the same way students are taught to be mindful not to leave their shoes in disarray before stepping on the mat. After seeing KODO many times in performance, I noticed they END with an uncommon pristine quality, much like the great care and mindfulness given to the smallest of details used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

For you, look at how you end ALL of your actions, both big and small. How you put your shoes away, put a pen down, close a door; it all matters. Every action is EVIDENCE to your high self on the standards you choose to live by. Keep them high! The iconic drummers we all love and look up to all demanded the highest of standards from themselves. You will e tested not from the recognized applause in an audience seeing how great you’re doing, but in the quiet moments of a room when you’re all by yourself. You are giving your brain and powerful subconscious mind signals on how you see yourself, and the level of quality you will demand from yourself to give when it counts. The little things are the big things. Sweat the small stuff!

LME | Last Mile Excellence for Drumming & Life (with Josh Waitzkin)

 

*This is an excerpt from ‘LTR METHOD: Unleashing Your Best Self Through The Power Of Drumming’. Get it now to elevate your drumming and life at chrislesso.com

It’s easy to be your best in the beginning. You’re fired up, motivated, ready to go! But what do you do when you’re on that last mile, depleted and hurting? This is actually the MOST important time to give your best. The end of the race during the very last mile is when you will most feel like surrendering, cutting corners, and settling for less. When you have nothing left to give, this is exactly the time to give 100% and END STRONG. How you perform when it’s hardest is a true reflection of where you’re REALLY at. You’re also giving yourself signals of how badly you really want to achieve what you’re building. This is where most people give up! How you END is the most important step, because it always carries forward into your next BEGINNING.

‘Give the highest quality to your last actions.’

The end is when you will least feel like giving your best, but make it a PSS (pre-set standard) to keep kicking ass until your very last moments. When you least feel like giving your best is exactly the time to do it! End the day with quality. The last action you complete of the day will be the clearest in your mind as you start the next day. The way you end one cycle will determine how you start the next. You don’t want your mind to internalize lowering your standards going into a fresh new day. This carries over to the little things as well, where the end of one action determines the next in a chain. LME is an attitude put forth in all you do. It is easy to THINK about, and harder to actually DO and put into ACTION. This is about setting yourself up for the WIN!

The end of the race is when your brain and body are screaming at you to stop. You think ‘why am I putting myself through this anyway?’ When it’s hardest, in the moments when you will WANT to quit, your WHY is what will get you through. Have you taken time to reflect on why you are putting yourself through this challenge? Giving to a cause larger than yourself can add great fuel to your overall why, carrying you through the daily battles of life. I know in my heart drums and music are so much larger than me, so ‘the instrument always wins’. Drumming to me is about the heartbeat of expression and creativity to always serve the music. A lesser reason like playing drums to impress others or competing to serve your ego will not get you through the rough times ahead. What does this all mean to you, and what is your larger WHY and over arcing MISSION?

LME is not only in your grand endings, but also in the littlest of actions as well. One of my favorite groups is the KODO drummers from Japan. The way they approach their craft with dedication, respect, tenacity, grit, perseverance, and fearless creativity has made a massive impact on me over the years that continues to this day. KODO approaches their drumming and art with QUALITY in the SMALLEST OF ACTIONS. It’s in how they carry themselves, how they do the little things. One thing I noticed early on that struck me, was how they put DOWN their drumsticks after they played. Most drummers pay this no mind, and the worst example of a scattered ending is when drummers just throw their sticks on the floor mindlessly as they walk away from the kit. In a martial arts Dojo this would simply be ‘UNSAT’ (unsatisfactory), in the same way students are taught to be mindful not to leave their shoes in disarray before stepping on the mat. After seeing KODO many times in performance, I noticed they END with an uncommon pristine quality, much like the great care and mindfulness given to the smallest of details used in the Japanese tea ceremony.

For you, look at how you end ALL of your actions, both big and small. How you put your shoes away, put a pen down, close a door; it all matters. Every action is EVIDENCE to your high self on the standards you choose to live by. Keep them high! The iconic drummers we all love and look up to all demanded the highest of standards from themselves. You will e tested not from the recognized applause in an audience seeing how great you’re doing, but in the quiet moments of a room when you’re all by yourself. You are giving your brain and powerful subconscious mind signals on how you see yourself, and the level of quality you will demand from yourself to give when it counts. The little things are the big things. Sweat the small stuff!

The WHY and HISTORY of Open Handed Drumming

 

What is open handed drumming? Simply, it’s not crossing your hands. Why? As you read earlier in the LTR method, there is no right or wrong. AND all your favorite drummers play with their hands crossed. So why go against the grain? Because when obstacles are removed, freedom expands. The goal of the LTR method is to empower you with BOLD SELF EXPRESSION. This means speaking your authentic true voice, proudly displaying what makes you UNIQUE for all the world to see. This game is not for everyone; there are many other books on the market that will help you play like everybody else, but this is not one of them. In fact, it’s probably not for the majority of drummers out there, and that’s ok.

Go deeper HERE:  bit.ly/OpenHandedTHEWHY

The WHY and HISTORY of Open Handed Drumming

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywJ6omTCg1M[/embedyt]

*This is an excerpt from the book ‘LTR METHOD, unleashing your best self through the power of drumming’. Get the full program at chrislesso.com

What is open handed drumming? Simply, it’s not crossing your hands. Why? As you read earlier in the LTR METHOD, there is no right or wrong. AND all your favorite drummers play with their hands crossed. So why go against the grain? Because when obstacles are removed, freedom expands. The goal of the LTR METHOD is to empower you with BOLD SELF EXPRESSION. This means speaking your authentic true voice, proudly displaying what makes you UNIQUE for all the world to see. This game is not for everyone; there are many other books on the market that will help you play like everybody else, but this is not one of them. In fact, it’s probably not for the majority of drummers out there, and that’s ok.

Why is this a big part of the LTR METHOD? This path is for those that want the edge to push them towards their best selves. You can still go through this cross handed, but you would be missing the spirit and attitude that is the foundation. Two of the guiding values of the LTR method is GROWTH and SELF EXPRESSION. Having the base of open handed mindset and drumming to draw from will empower you to grow into your potential. But only AFTER putting in that work, if playing crossed feels good to you in an artistic way, then go for it! We have no rules here. But if you’re playing crossed because ‘it feels easier’, ‘it’s always been done that way’, or ‘this is the way I was taught’, then this is not the core of the LTR method. Steve Jobs captured this in the ads he created with Apple. People aren’t buying Apple just because they’re great machines, but for those core values which permeates into the design itself.

Populate your world with those that value fearlessly being the best version of themselves over fitting in with the conventional norm. This can be found in learning about similar thinkers in domains beyond drumming. Let’s meet gold medal Olympian Dick Fosbury.

 

THE STORY OF DICK FOSBURY AND ‘THE FOSBURY FLOP’

Did you do the high jump in school track and field? This is a sport where the object is to run at a high standing bar and jump over it without touching it. The high jump has been a part of the Olympic games since the beginning. The accepted technique for many years was running face first towards the bar and doing a standing jump. But at the Olympic games in 1968 Dick Fosbury single handedly revolutionized the sport, doing it a completely different way. As he ran towards the bar, at the last part of the run he faced away from the bar, jumping over it back first. This looks normal to us now, and if you’re like me this is the way I was taught in school. But at the time it was revolutionary.

Having a background in mechanical engineering, Dick used his knowledge to see how his body could move more efficiently. He saw that if he arched his back when jumping, his center of gravity would stay below the bar even as his body sailed over it. This was his innovation using the first principle of the LTR method: ‘work with nature and not against’. Getting his body into the arched position was a massive ergonomic advantage. Believing in himself and his innovation, Dick made the switch and reinvented his technique.

To be rewarded for his forward thinking change to the sport, he was made fun of and ridiculed. Newspapers called him the ‘world’s laziest high jumper’ because of his backwards stance. Others said he looked like a ‘two legged camel’. He had an awkward style doing things his own way, even wearing mismatched sneakers to compete on the day of the games. He was dismissed as an oddity and a curiosity, written off by the established elite. But by rethinking the way it had always been done and believing in himself when no one else did, he shocked the world by setting a new Olympic world record with his Fosbury flop technique, winning the gold medal in the process. From that point on, his disruptive innovation completely changed the best practices and philosophy of the high jump athletic discipline. Within a few years after this event, the “Fosbury flop” would become the conventional technique for the high jump athlete. What started as an innovation, became a revolution, and is now the STANDARD.

This is open handed drumming.

 

THE FIRST PIONEER: BILLY COBHAM

The Dick Fosbury of the drumming world would be Billy Cobham. He was he first drummer to play open handed in the late 1960’s, at a time when NO ONE did this, rethinking the art form in the process, and scaring so many drummers of that time. He had the courage to do what made sense to HIM, following his heart and intuition. Billy is a great example of how to get BETTER as you get older! If you keep this value strong of listening to your own voice and constantly pushing the edges of your potential, you will tap into the fountain of youth like Billy has, with an inexhaustible spirit of fire to all that you do.

The 5X Training Challenge for DRUMS & LIFE

 

“You train how you fight and you fight how you train.” Navy SEAL saying

You can’t just think your way to being a better drummer and human being. Living the art of possibility and potential takes continuous massive action. This is about having SYSTEMS NOT GOALS, and then living the never ending process of re-examining your systems, recalibrating them, measuring the results, and repeating.

Take the 5X Training Challenge HERE:  http://bit.ly/5XTrainingChallenge

I’ll be going deep into the art of practicing in my upcoming book ‘The Rhythm Of Practice’. Join the LTR movement at chrislesso.com for free sneak peaks and bonus content coming soon!

The 5X Training Challenge for DRUMS & LIFE

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“Sweat more in training and you’ll bleed less in war.” Spartan Warrior Creed

GO TO YOUR EDGES

The 5X Training Challenge can be broken down into three essentials. Going back to the basics (FUNDAMENTALS), repeating them a sick amount of times (REPETITION), and preparing you for the battlefield of real life performance when it counts (REALISM).

“You train how you fight and you fight how you train.” Navy SEAL saying

You can’t just think your way to being a better drummer and human being. Living the art of possibility and potential takes continuous massive action. This is about having SYSTEMS NOT GOALS, and then living the never ending process of re-examining your systems, recalibrating them, measuring the results, and repeating. I like to set my ‘Big 5’ for the year (no more than 5 or it’s too many) and then set my systems in 12 week cycles, thinking of them as ‘mini years’ so I don’t over estimate what I can do in a years time. (My training program LTR METHOD and my upcoming book ‘The Rhythm Of Practice’ help drummers around the world calibrate and optimize their own systems for maximum success) 12 weeks is a good timeslot to see the RESULTS your systems are giving you, and then readjusting when needed. All that really matters is, are your systems giving you the OUTCOME of what you’re truly capable of? Are they allowing you to tap into the edges of your potential, or just coasting on the abilities you already have?

THE PSS PROTOCOL

“If you only give 90% in training then you will only give 90% when it counts.” Michael Owen, celebrated soccer player

Having high ‘Pre-Set-Standards’ for yourself is a pre-commitment to excellence. ‘Pre-setting’ them means setting yourself up for the win BEFORE it happens. The reason why so many habits don’t stick is there is FRICTION. This is in the form of any resistance that gets in your way, and gives you an excuse to procrastinate, or just quit all together. Even the smallest obstacles can give you an ‘out’ from doing the small ACTIONS that stack up to a real life WIN.

“Hard training is the solemn duty of trainers and leaders every day.” Jocko Willink, former Navy SEAL

The PSS protocol is committing IN ADVANCE to your best self. An example of this is every Sunday morning when I plan out my week I know what I’m going to work on in my practice sessions, and this is entered in my practice journal. The plan is fluid and can change due to circumstances, but I’ve taken away any friction on thinking of WHAT to practice, so when the time comes I just sit down and ACT. The PSS protocol is one of many SYSTEMS that once installed as a habit, runs on it’s own fuel with no willpower.

PRACTICE WARRIORS

“Why do you think I’m the best player in the game? Because I never get bored with the basics.” Kobe Bryant

When we watch our favourites we’re seeing the inspiring end result that we love, but what we don’t see that creates the magic is what happens in the practice room. Going into the ‘no fun zone’ day after month after year. Racking up the monotonous reps. Stacking up the lonely days in the woodshed. When I want to deconstruct how one of my favorites got to where they’re at, I don’t just want to see the final product, I want to watch them in the PROCESS. I love Jay Z’s music, but watching him work in the studio reveals how he elevated it to mastery. Show me how someone PRACTICES, and I can see how they will perform when it counts.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Navy SEAL saying

Practice is the never ending journey of FACING YOURSELF, having the courage everyday to walk towards what you’re not good at YET. This is a daily battle with the everyday challenges thrown at you. Life gets in the way! Making it a MUST to get in the in the practice room every day isn’t easy, but if it were then everyone would be at mastery. The best in the world not only live this ethos, they run TOWARDS it to embrace it. This is what the 5X training challenge is all about, making your practice EQUAL OR HARDER than what real life is going to be, so you can live with true confidence when your moment to shine comes.

“Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” Jerry Rice, football legend

I’ll be going deep into the art of practicing in my upcoming book ‘The Rhythm Of Practice’. Join the LTR movement at chrislesso.com for free sneak peaks and bonus content coming soon!

You Must Make SOME Percentage Of Your Drumming OPEN HANDED

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CONFORM CONFORM CONFORM

We all have a trait buried deep within our psyche that helped our species survive our long evolution: TO STAY WITHIN THE TRIBE. Hundreds of years ago, to be too different than the rest could cost you the potential to earn a living and be a part of the community. Thousands of years ago, to be an outsider of the community could mean survival itself; lost from the tribe, you would probably be taken down by extreme weather or starvation. So for us humans to get this far over eons of time we needed to not stray too far from the crowd, living our lives only in what was considered ‘normal’. This is good news because you are HERE and alive! But to stay with the safety of the crowd is an illusion because it will prevent you from living out your true potential as a drummer and person. It takes GRIT to fight against this natural part of us daily, to be more of you. OPEN HANDED DRUMMING opens the door of maximum self expression to leave as much of your fingerprint on your art as possible.

MORE OF YOU

Getting in the habit of ‘DIFFERENTIATION’ is to be content in the discomfort of taking the path less traveled. Any your favourites, from Harry Potter to Led Zeppelin to Muhammad Ali, all lived this ethos. A potent way to embody this attitude in drumming is through open handed drumming. This brings out more of YOU on your instrument, revealing to the world what makes you different from the rest.

THE WHY

Two great gifts that come from open handed drumming are the balancing of your hands by giving a more even amount of work to your weaker side, and by opening up more of your creativity by making available the entire spectrum of sounds from the drumset, laid out in front of you to uncover and discover.

* All the possibilities for maximum creativity open up to you
* Your weaker side gets better faster

THE PIANO

The piano is the root to all other instruments because rhythm, melody, and harmony are laid out right under your hands. By it’s design, it has the quality of all possibilities being open to you, as your hands can go in any direction to explore the range of sounds at your fingertips. Why would you ever cross your hands on a piano? This would disconnect you from what makes the piano unique. This would CUT OFF possibilities, not open them up. Let’s approach the drumset in the same way. Why did drummers starting crossing their hands in the first place? This is a left over relic from the past that has become a loop echoing itself. No child exploring the drumset for the first time would NATURALLY cross their hands unless they are TOLD to do it, or unless they are IMITATING others that were told to do it, because they were imitating others, because they were told to … and so on. To stay CHILDLIKE on this instrument is the key to LONGEVITY. Curiosity, fun, and enthusiasm are always the fuel of evolution. In the LTR method we always want to ‘work with nature, not against’, and open handed drumming taps into this power beautifully to elevate our drumming to the best it can be.

THE TESLA

How many Tesla cars have you seen on the road today? They are on the cutting edge of the evolution of automobiles, but you probably only saw one or maybe two Teslas on the road today, if that. But how many gas powered cars did you see today? 99%. If we look at the evolution of cars purely from efficiency and potential, Teslas are superior. In the future, the 99% and 1% ratio will be flipped. (100 years ago the first automobiles were the 1%, and horse drawn carriages were the 99%!) So what is wrong with gas powered cars anyway? The answer is NOTHING! Just because the edges are being pushed forward, it doesn’t make the normal BAD. A Ferrari is a gas powered car, and it is magnificent. In the drumming world, the 99% is that most of my favorite drummers are cross handed, and they are brilliant artists. But this is YOUR art, and the decisions you make now will shape your future. The goal is always to forge the best version of yourself that we can. Whenever anything pushes the edge of evolution toward possibilities and potential, it will be in the 1%. I want to push you there, and have you experience the big magic that comes from seeing that you’re capable of 100X more than you can possibly imagine.

Do you know the two rules of drumming? (There are only two) 1) There are no rules, and 2) Always follow rule #1! Therefore, there’s nothing WRONG with crossing. There is no right or wrong, but there are CONSEQUENCES. Playing either way will either open up possibilities, or cut them off. I want for you to play cross handed if it is a CHOICE and that you don’t get stuck there, imprisoned from ever unlocking your best ideas on the drums. Have the courage TODAY to live on the razor’s edge of what you are truly capable of!

YOUR FUTURE SELF

The definition of hell is meeting your future self and seeing what you could have been, but knowing that you didn’t take action. I’ve spent a lot of time with seniors, and those who have lived a long time and are closer to the end of their lives than at the beginning know the power of what regret truly means, and this is it.

I played cross handed drums for 17 years, and what made me switch was that I saw what my FUTURE SELF could become. It was scary but exciting at the same time, going from the known into the unknown. Life is a series of small deaths. For you to rise to your next level of excellence, the old you has to die and the new you is born. Clinging to the old, safe, and familiar simply is impossible. The Tibetan Buddhist monks have a ritual tradition called Sand Mandala. They design an elaborate detailed piece of art out of coloured grains of sand, painstakingly working until the composition is complete. The completed piece is breathtakingly beautiful with it’s vibrant colour, design, and attention to the tiniest of details. And then they sweep it all away, like an ocean wave swallowing up a castle made of sand. This ritual is to remind them that everything is temporary. As you move towards your future self, the person you are now will have to die a series of small deaths. Clinging to what is safe and familiar can only lead to regret. The goal is to meet your future self on your deathbed and die with a huge smile on your face, knowing you walked towards living your best self through ACTION.

It will always disrupt you to feel uncomfortable stretching towards these new places, as you stoke your creativity and strengthen your weaker side. There has to be a period of EMBRACING THE SUCK, but this is the price to be paid for pushing to the other side to uncover your greatness. Embracing the suck by definition feels crappy at the time, but this will always put you in a better place in the future. The goal is that you’ll look back on it feeling FULFILLED in the long term.

TAKING MASSIVE ACTION

Make SOME percentage of your playing OPEN HANDED now! Even if you only play this way a little at a time, the worst that will happen is you’ll come up with new ideas and your hands will balance out and get stronger. You’ll cultivate GRIT by going bravely into the unknown and trying something uncomfortable. Your future self will open up to something more incredible that you can possibly imagine.

Just because you are stretching yourself to open handed drumming, it doesn’t mean anything is permanent. This was a gradual process for me, stacking up the 1% wins which over time create massive results. If you practice open handed drumming and then decide to go back to cross handed drumming, it will actually be BETTER. To play open handed and then go back to cross handed because you like it, is EASY because you’ve earned the freedom. You’ve put in the time to be able to play both the left and right side of the drums, just like a piano. But the opposite is not true: to invest all your practicing into playing cross handed and THEN try to go to open handed is far more difficult, putting up barriers that keep you stuck in the past. Remember, MAXIMUM FREEDOM is the way forward towards MAXIMUM EXPRESSION.

As the years go by and you inevitably face your future self, you can do it with a massive smile on your face, living in gratitude for bringing into the world more of your best self through open handed drumming. Be the possibilitarian you were meant to become, and step boldly into the future!

For a deeper dive on open handed drumming, check out the roundtable with myself, Dom Famularo, Claus Hessler, and Stephane Chamberland!

bit.ly/OpenHandedDrummingRoundtable

You Must Make SOME Percentage Of Your Drumming OPEN HANDED

Make SOME percentage of your playing OPEN HANDED now! Even if you only play this way a little at a time, the worst that will happen is you’ll come up with new ideas and your hands will balance out and get stronger. You’ll cultivate GRIT by going bravely into the unknown and trying something uncomfortable. Your future self will open up to something more incredible that you can possibly imagine.

Read the rest HERE:   bit.ly/OpenHandedDrumming

Join the LTR DRUMMING WORLDWIDE movement at chrislesso.com for free tools to achieve your BEST SELF THROUGH DRUMMING!

 

FOLLOW Chris:

instagram.com/ChrisLesso
twitter.com/ChrisLesso
facebook.com/ChrisLessoLTR
youtube.com/user/ChrisLessoChannel

 

Bruce Lee’s LTR attitude to DRUMMING

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‘We play who we are.’

‘Life through rhythm’ is realizing our best selves through drumming. Your drumming will only rise as high as your inner world. This is LTR! We build our inner strengths to create the outer expression. Bruce Lee’s approach and attitude was also LTR. Bruce understood that self expression from movement was the key. The drums are capturing your MOVEMENTS, turning it into a SOUND. And to get the right movement, being in the NOW is essential. The present moment is the seat of all things high performance.

Bruce was also a master at stealing from any other area that would improve his own self expression. I once heard of a cooking class where the students had to choose from a pile of random books about anything but cooking, and distill points from them that they could then bring into their cooking. So if you grabbed a book on sailing, you had to find 5 concepts within sailing that you could steal and take to your cooking. Maybe the 5 concepts might be knowing your gear inside out, thinking ahead and anticipating, working on timing, having patience, and keeping up maximum endurance. The concept is that the secret of mastering one skill is to steal from another.

Bruce Lee was a master at this, stealing from any area OUTSIDE his discipline that would elevate his self expression. His obsession was expressing himself truly and authentically with simplicity, directness, and freedom. The game is to maximize self expression by any means necessary. When this is the goal, we see it’s not really about talent you were born with, but about your systems and rituals you run daily. QUESTION these, and constantly strip away and delete what doesn’t work. It’s not really about talent and being born ‘gifted’, but more about what your daily SYSTEMS are. At least 4X quarterly throughout the year I am constantly reexamining my own systems, building awareness on the results they bring through measuring, and then relentlessly recalibrating them. DELETE what doesn’t work, and DOUBLE DOWN on what does!

The word discipline comes from the Latin word for student, which is the source of the word disciple, or ‘one who follows’. Discipline is SELF CONTROL, and after that comes self direction. What is your guiding north star, your WHY? Discipline is ‘self direction’, so what future self are you guiding yourself towards and being a ‘disciple’ of? It may sound morbid at first, but always keep a vision of you on your deathbed having a big smile on your face having a lived life on your terms, to the absolute fullest. If drums is in your heart, I want to hear YOUR self expression, loud and proud and unapologetically YOU! Bruce lived his life this way every day, and has always inspired me to do the same. Take the LTR and Bruce Lee’s attitude to your drumming to your life!

For a deeper dive into the connection between Bruce Lee and drumming, check out this episode with Mark Kelso HERE:

http://bit.ly/LTRBruceLeeDrumming