Yesterday, The Unlikely Mage and I got into a conversation about self improvement. He was discussing the fact that he wasn’t going to use that phrase any more, and that he was going to use the phrase ‘accessing power’ instead. This was a phrase that he picked up over at White Hot Truth, and it seems to be a great idea.

To me, the concept of accessing the power seems… well, disingenuous. We have the power. We’ve always had the power. We’re accessing the power. We’re… pushing forward with the power. We’re tapping into the power that we’ve had the whole time. Yeahyeahyeah. But that brings us all into this Harrison Bergeron sort of world where everybody can do everything perfectly and those who are really good are handicapped in some way. Yeah, it makes those who can’t do the thing feel better, but it seriously stifles those who could have gone further.

Let’s face it. Due to the astrological rendering of self, or genetics, or tea leaves cast five minutes before conception or the atmospheric pressure of the room on the night of March 27, 1836… there’s some things that we’re not going to be able to do very well. This isn’t to say that we can’t do them, by any means.. just not do them very well. There’s no natural knack to absolutely everything, but you know what? You can perfect your awesomeness.

Perfect that awesomeness. Accessing the power removes the amount of ‘suck’ that’s inherent in the phrase ‘self improvement’ and replaces it with the idea that you’ve already got that skill, you’re just perfecting it. It’s sorta like the idea of cats and stuff. You know, the cat who will jump on the newly polished table, skid all the way across and land on its tummy… then get up and look like ‘I MEANT to do that’? You are perfecting stuff in your world. If you’re mean and angsty and irritating to yourself, perfect that skill.

Improvement.. that’s also something that other people use to describe you. Accessing the power … well, you had the power the whole time, so it’s a moot point. Perfecting the skill, though… is a healthy combination of the two. When you’re perfecting a skill, you’re honing it to the point where you enjoy that skill. If you meditate bunches, you are perfecting the breathing pattern. If you’re really into magic, you’re perfecting the ritual. If, to others, you’re an obnoxious lout… perfect that skill. You can do absolutely anything, and you’re closer to some skills over other skills.

The awesome ones… they’re working on perfecting. The not so awesome ones.. they’re not thinking about the art.