Just Five Ingredients

One of my tango instructors once told me that there are basically five simple step to tango: forward, side, backwards, cross, and ochos. If you can do these five steps well, you can dance with anyone. I am by no means the best tango dancer, not even close. But I do know that many women have enjoyed dancing with me. It’s not because I knew a lot of tricks, I don’t. It’s because I did what I knew very well.

A chef once told me that a master chef could make an infinite number of dishes with just five ingredients, any five ingredients. The ingredients were not important. What was important was technique. If you know how to cook well, you can cook anything with anything.

Beginner artists who come to me often worry that they haven’t had enough training or know enough technique to make sellable art. My advice to them is always the same. Don’t focus on what you don’t know. Focus on what you do know and do it well. Maybe you only know how to operate five functions on your camera; that’s enough for almost any type of photography. Maybe you only know five chords on your guitar; that’s enough for a simple song. Maybe you can only draw five things really well; that’s enough to start a comic book.

Don’t focus on what you don’t know. Focus on what you do know, and just do it well.

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