I remember, maybe 10 years ago, when I started playing pool seriously. A local pool hall became my second home. I was addicted to the game. I was at the pool hall four times a week. I needed to master the game, or at least, reach my highest potential. It’s an urge that strikes me whenever my interest grows in any craft or game.
I remember learning how to play chess in 3rd grade, but the game didn’t appeal to me until I had long graduated from high school. A local cafe, where I spent every free moment from work, had a stable of regular players, and it was there that the urge struck again. I played several games a day against various opponents with the hopes of reaching my highest potential.
I remember falling in love and studying Goju Ryu as a teenager. A local police station had a sensei who taught us kids for the love of it, never charging a dime. Three times a week, I broke sweats, shed blood, and strained the limits of my body and spirit. Work and school got in the way eventually, and changing interests and urges further distanced me from my art.
I remember the spring and summer of 1994, when I spent a weekend rocking out with two friends at Woodstock’s 25th anniversary mega-concert, and surviving off of Miller Lite, Haagen Daas, hot dogs, and music, and mud. Then later that summer, an algebra professor suggested all his students open up a free email account, and a fellow classmate introducing me to the IRC. The new urge was writing scripts to crash “enemy” computers.
I remember so many other pivotal points in my life where urges took over to master different areas of what has so far comprised my life. However, what I remember above all the hobbies, tasks and so forth, were the fundamentals. I never became the second coming of Willie Mosconi, Bobby Fischer, Bruce Lee, Perry Farrell, nor have I ever mastered rogue programming. Nevertheless, I can hold my own in the aforementioned, as well as many other areas not mentioned.
I’m a slave to my ever-changing urges from whence my foundation of basics manifest. Without the basics, the fundamentals, I would not exist. Without the fundamentals of everything I take on, I’d have no foundation, no legs to stand on, no form.
With each endeavor of which I partake, I’m reaching for the sun. So, I’m bewildered by the myriad of people I come across, read about, see on the news, who claim expertise without a foundation, without having studied the basics, without a firm hold on the fundamentals.
If you’re life is a mess, and you fail to find excitement, success, happiness and/or love; if you’re having trouble at work, if your relationships continuously fail, if you suck at your own hobbies (and it bothers you), take a step back, take a deep breath, then take a good look to see how you stand on the basics.
Without the fundamentals, you’re nothing.