The Secret I Used to Win a National Organ Competition When I Was 19

Mountains of Arizona
Lots o’ Snow 30 Degrees
1:48 p.m.

I didn’t realize, early in life, that sometimes, the best way to get what you want is to stop trying to get it.

Instead of pursuing what you want directly, you pursue something ELSE, the byproduct of which gets you what you truly want.

I proved this to myself back when I was 19, but I wasn’t awake enough then realize what I had just discovered.

I still remember my friend Matt, in college, becoming the youngest winner of an international organ competition in France. No small feat, mind you.

I remember getting told about how he called my teacher (we had the same teacher) from France and said something to the effect of, “I’m not sure what happened, but I won…”

Now back then, I was a scared little guy 24/7. I hadn’t yet come into my body really. I was rarely PRESENT in the moment. So while part of me was there playing the organ, most of me was off somewhere else freaking myself OUT about playing the organ. It made for some interesting times…

I wasn’t really into competing, but I did manage to apply for a few organ competitions one year. I got past the qualifying rounds in one of those (via DAT tape!) and got invited to the finals in the middle of nowhere Indiana.

Once I got in to the finals, I remembered that story I heard about Matt and, for some reason, really wanted to be able to make that same self-deprecating phone call to my teacher announcing that “somehow” I had won.

I remember searing that mental movie into my being as a fun thing to have happen.

During the last few weeks leading up to the finals, I was pretty much scared to death. I was the youngest kid in the competition, going up against folks with mucho advanced degrees and beyond.

I remember I was spending my time at college pursuing my future wife (she was tough!) and hadn’t gotten my shit together enough to finish learning a piece I was going to play at the competition. It was about two weeks or so before the big day. So stress was a little bit on the high side.

Even so, I spent time visualizing myself making that phone call. I had no idea what I was doing at the time. I had no idea I was following the very process outlined by many people (including Maxwell Maltz) about how to harness our power to create our own reality.

Long story short, I won the competition. And right after the awards ceremony, I made that phone call, the one I’d been visualizing all those months.

Figure out what you want, imagine it DONE, then go to work living.

The details, the “how to make it happen,” will take care of themselves.

Sometimes, when you take your conscious focus OFF your goals and allow your inner being to navigate you there, you end up going on a journey that sounds like a magical fairy tale.

It’s a beautiful thing to experience. And we can all do it. Every one of us.

Even you.