Career Advice From Don Quixote and Bruce Lee

In Chapter 2 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami answers "What Has Your Passion for the Peforming Arts Taught You About the Power of Preparation?"  Goswami discusses how preparation and repetition enable a more full immersion in a creative place.  Bijoy Goswami is a writer, teacher, and community leader based in Austin, Texas.  He develops learning models, including MRE, youPlusU, and Bootstrap, to help others live more meaningfully.  Previously, he co-founded Aviri Software after working at Trilogy Software.  Goswami graduated from Stanford University, where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and History. 


Erik Michielsen:  What has your passion for the performing arts taught you about the power of preparation?

Bijoy Goswami:  The importance of peace. Preparation is really important, you know, I find this to be true of lots of things. You know, performing arts is, you’ve gotta keep doing something over and over again so that you can get rid of all the practice and just be in the moment. So, this is this funny thing of these three stages, you know, of the journey.

Going back to that three-part process. If you just come in and you're kind of buffoon, you’re just kind of like, “Oh”, you know. A guy named Robert Johnson talks about Don Quixote as sort of that stage one, he shows up to the game and he’s just like, “What’s up?,” and you know he’s just, “I'm a warrior”, “No you're not. You know, you have no idea what you’re doing”, you know, and then sort of you get to that point where you take that but then you start getting to this point where you now have, you start developing your skills and capabilities, right? But then you’re still practicing; you're still working in a way that you’re following a rule set, okay? But if you keep going then what happens is you actually go back in this third place you become Don Quixote again but with all these knowledge behind you.

So, in Zen it’s like the beginner’s mind, right? So, the beginner’s mind is like, oh show up to, Bruce Lee we’ll talk about, you know, show up to the fight. Well, if you’ve not practiced today and you show to the fight, you’re gonna get your ass, you know, kicked but if you show to the fight and you have all the stuff behind you 10,000 hours, 20,000 hours then you can truly be in a creative space. You can now say, it’s all in you. It’s not that you're just keeps discarding it. It’s actually all there but you're calling upon, you know, as needed.

So, I think preparation, you know, is something you just have to – You’ve gotta do all the time and rehearsal for a play is kind of a mini example of what you do in life, you know, you spend those hours rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing so that you could come and you're not anymore thinking about the lines and the set and where am I moving and you’re just being, you're being Hamlet, you're being the character and you’re in that moment and you're going for it. So, preparation is that – is the difference between a bumbling fool and someone who’s a master.