Happy New year! Yes, the New Year is upon us and while people are busy breaking their New Year resolutions already, you and I are busy planning and strategizing for long-term success, right?

So you want to make more money, be healthier and sing better in 2013? Well, having goals are great. But have you thought of what the skills are that you need to develop in order to accomplish your goals? Let me address one fundamental skill here.

I want to share something about Christmas celebration – a fundamental difference between Christmases in Sweden that I grew up with, and how I have come to understand Christmas is often celebrated in the US.

And I’m not talking up the religious aspects now. I’m talking about the way presents are given.

You see in Sweden, it is on Christmas Eve that we get presents. For some, Santa mysteriously arrives in the evening. Unfortunately, poor Dad just missed him since moments earlier he went out for a walk or went to “buy the evening newspaper” at the store. (Hmmm, he always returned saying the store was closed). For others, Santa arrived during the night and the presents were found under the Christmas Tree in the morning, but were to be opened in the evening.

The point here is that Christmas Eve for a kid is just about the longest and most trying day ever. It is the ultimate test of patience. Once has to wait endlessly until one can finally open Christmas presents.

Then, once it is time to open presents, one does it in an orderly fashion. One present at a time. One person at a time.

As far as I have come to understand, many American kids wake up and open their presents right away on the morning of Christmas Day. From those I have spoken with, it is more of a process of ripping open the presents as fast as possible.

This has always made me wonder. Is there something inherent in the culture that has become accustomed to fast foods, quick fixes, quick-diets, and make-money-quick-schemes? Is there a relationship between this behavior and why the pharmaceutical companies and junk food companies are able to thrive in tandem on people’s desires for band-aid solutions?

I once chatted with a badminton player and coach from Malaysia who had represented Malaysia many times in the world championships. (Malaysia has a long history of being a powerhouse nation in badminton).

He had come to the US to train the US badminton team. He told me he noticed a fundamental flaw in the US badminton players: Lack of patience. Americans wanted to kill the ball early, while the Malaysians were all disciplined martial art black belts.

My life centers around developing strategies for effective and accelerated learning – because it is indeed very possible to learn skills much faster than most people are aware of – whether it is to become a better singer, healing an injury, learning a language, building a business, or whatever. And I find it fascinating that those who learn effectively and fast have a completely opposite attitude and mindset compared to those who seek quick fixes.

I get emails all the time from people who “just want a quick tip”, or people who seriously believe watching a video on Youtube is going to make them world-class singers

The unfortunate reality is that it is when we are poor we want to make money quick. And that mindset keeps us in poverty. It is the overweight person who seeks to lose weight quick. While she may succeed short term (oftentimes by simple losing water), she has never learned the real skills necessary and will therefore gain it all back. And it is the quick-tip seeker who never really learns.

It is the person who truly engages in training to develop the brain that learns. Yes it is always the brain that does the learning, that creates the healthy body, that makes you wealthy, and that makes your voice soar – although not the same part that does trigonometry calculations. You can indeed develop skills in months that the quick-tip seeker will spend years searching for.

The people who learn effectively and who therefore excel in various areas of life, are in fact the ones with an exceptional strong sense of discipline (which is a developed skill). They are the people who don’t mind delayed gratification. In fact, the prefer it over instant gratification. Practicing the art of delayed gratification could perhaps turn out to be one the greatest exercises you can engage in.

And as parents, delaying gratification maybe one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Does this have something to do with how we open Christmas presents? Maybe? Who knows?

Do you prefer instant gratification or do you prefer more powerful gratification even if it is delayed?

About the author 


  • Well, being 79, I am much older than most of your students. Want to be able to sing again, at least in church. The old saying “use it or lose it” is so true! Anxious to receive the CD’s.

  • As a Reiki Master/Teacher, I agree that North American society has an instant gratification mindset. I’ve had many clients come in wanting a quick fix, only to leave ticked off because it didn’t happen. Try explaining that the body has it’s on healing agenda!!! Many years ago there was a popular song “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”. I think it was even used commercially for an over the counter pain reliever. Unfortunately, it seems as though this mind set is spreading as the so-called North American culture spreads. Get what you want, get it now, & who cares what you do to anyone or anything else along the way & that includes the Earth! Hate to tell ya folks, but as someone who’s had a near death experience, you can’t take it with you. All you can take is the result of your actions & thoughts. Thanks for posting this, Per. I’m enjoying the program. Blessings, Sara

  • well I gave my comment on fb, but in a nutshell here it is…with practice is excellence…with quick-fix disapointment..

  • I think it`s hard to know what it takes to learn something new, before I start learning it. And somethings come easy and other things come more difficult, then along the way I might reevaluate if this is something I really want to go for or not. Very often it has been the idea of a quick fix that has driven me to seek new learning, and very often I have gotten a quick fix with a new understanding of how much more there is to learn. Take care, and happy new year!

  • I agree with all of the above. This is one of the few email commentaries where each contributor posted something meaningful.

    Personally, I always needed time to effectively absorb what I was being taught, in order to do worthwhile practice.

  • I have just started your singing course. The fact that you actually guide us, yourself, with each lesson is fantastic. I really enjoy your humour and interesting remarks. I live in Ontario, Canada and will be telling all my ‘singing friends’ about you but first I want to take your lessons so that I can surprise them with my new abilities to sing at a better level.
    I must admit that I am anxious to learn and want to do it fast but want to do it well, so if it means that I should slow down, then I will.

  • Couldn’t agree more, Per… while EVERY culture is just a regional form of illness as far as I’m concerned, the Anglophone countries have a particularly warped world view. Hard to say why.

    But it’s ironic because the same impatience that’s spent looking for quick fixes can be harnessed to find superior methods and technology to accomplish what you want.

    As you say, anything can be learned much faster than originally thought but that certainly doesn’t mean it will be easy/instant/etc. It just means…faster!

    Hope everyone’s year is filled with lots of music! 🙂

  • What frees the beauty of a soul to express itself through the body is the most priceless gift anyone can receive. You must work on many levels, especially the subquantum one, and when I first watched your video, you are encouraging exactly that, as you reach inward to find that ‘present.’

  • First I wanna wish everybody a Happy New Year 2013. May your wishes come true.

    As in Sweden the presents are opened on Christmas eve in Germany and Austria as well.
    In Austria the ‘Christ Child’ delivers the presents whereas in Germany Santa Clause lies the presents under the christmas tree.

    I also learned that with growing age you get more patient.
    As a young boy I wanted everything fixed instantly. Now with the age of 50 I am more patient.

    I agree with your statements but let us consider the following.
    There are people who
    – learn faster than others or are more talented
    – need more help because they need helpful suggestions or a push in the right direction to get a step ahead
    – are visual learners and others are audio learners or learn from books alone.

    You are right if you say that patience is essential but sometimes people need support and patience to succeed.

    Sometimes only hard work leeds to a success.
    Every human being is different and that makes us all so interesting.

  • Do you know that there is a recent study that found children were more apt to delay gratification (not eat a piece of candy now for two later) if they trusted the candy-giver? Can it be that a healthy percentage of us (adults and children alike) can wait if we feel pretty confident we will get what’s promised, whether that’s in sports, in singing, in life in general?

  • I have read all the comments and I am sorry I did not sign up for the course at the ‘special price’ I felt that I cannot serve two masters (at 82 years young) having just recently started writing my third book and still promoting my 2nd book published in Sept 2012. I love to sing and play piano and guitar quite well. Actually played piano for a reception for the Swedish Ambassador visiting Vancouver last February. You may get the hint that I am of Swedish heritage and cut my teeth on the Scandinavian songs, am not quite so good a speaking the language but can get by and my understanding of it is pretty fair , considering my parents have been gone for over 30 years now. I will get your course eventually when I find some quality time to spend on it. My voice has definitely deteriorated in the past few years from under use and I expect age. WIshing you a very happy and succesful 2013. I hope to join you soon.

  • It’s an interesting theory, but I am not so sure that I agree with it because America is so culturally diverse. We don’t all celebrate Chistmas the same way.

    I know families who do the unwrap one gift at a time thing on Christmas Day even the presents from Santa aren’t opened until after breakfast is eaten on Christmas morning.

    I’m from the South, Santa presents were left unwrapped under the Christmas tree after the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve. So Christmas morning was a rush to the tree to see what Santa had left. Wrapped presents were opened after breakfast. If you have kids this is really a smart plan. It keeps the kids occupied so the parents can sleep in otherwise the little rascals will be waking you up at 4 AM to open presents.

    I think that it is more a lack of a work ethic being instilled by parents. I think if you asked those who do work the singing program and don’t slack off, you would find that somewhere along the way they learned that if they wanted something that they would have to work to get it. I don’t think that it is unique to America as I have met several Europeans who expect everything to be handed to them as well.

    It’s rather sad to see someone who is talented and says that they want to achieve a goal with their talent, but won’t do the work to achieve it.

  • Interesting comment…. I’ve noticed that quite a few of your bits of wisdom throughout have lined up with Biblical principles. Life principles that many times aren’t applied or thought about now a days. Wasn’t sure what to expect when I decided to try your program. Being that I just started in December, I haven’t had the time to apply it as seriously yet as I desire due to the business of this season, but already have goals set for the new year. What little I’ve been able to delve into of your program has been a blessing and you’ve given me much food for thought. Thank you much… May you and your family have a very blessed New Year!


  • I have really enjoyed reading all these comments and points of view.
    I am now 83 years young and love music and singing
    We have been running a Stroke Club for fifteen years and also a singing group that we use any kind donations to fund the club. Stroke victims can benefit such a lot with music and singing because it takes a different part of the brain to sing than it does to speak.
    We wish you a very happy new year Per and look forward to your singing advice throughout the year. Vera Otto

  • This year for us it was the Friday after Christmas that we eventually opened our presents. It was the first occasion over Christmas that all the family were together and we all agreed to wait until that day. However the children in the family did have their “Father Christmas” presents on Christmas Day but they did wait until we were all together for the extended family presents.

    That said – I 100% agree that we are part of a “want it now” culture. It is the same in the UK. Teaching children that their time and effort will be rewarded in the long run is one of the best presents you can give them.

    I have on many occasions had people tell me how lucky I am to be able to sing. They seem to have no concept of the time and effort, not to mention the money invested into the skill I have developed over many, many years. The only luck is the luck I made for myself.

  • Happy New Year to all of you gorgeous people who have given such interesting comments…faith, hope & love….& the greatest of these is LOVE. …with love, you can wait longer, with love, you can try harder, with love, you could hit those higher notes…thanks for your love & caring Per to write a tho’t provoking blog!! May you have a wonderful year !!

  • Hi Per i’m still reading your emails and can pick up stuf about life and singing . Hope to get back soon . Bob Irvine

  • I admit I want things fast. I’m impatient. Maybe I have little mental discipline. My mind is always flying from one idea to the other, and I have so many good ideas. I never finish one before I’ve started on the other. Of course, this is partly because I have a bad memory, and won’t remember the idea for long, so I have to write it down while I have it. However, oddly enough, if I seek out something of my own free will, and I want to know it, I read it, perhaps write it down, repeat it in my head a few times, maybe take a short test on it, I find that I can pretty much never forget what I chose to learn. On the other hand, it I didn’t really want to know, or didn’t care about it, it doesn’t stick and I forget. So I do end up seeking instant fixes, sometime due to my oddly working memory and sometimes just because I don’t want to put in the time and effort, or I’m just plain impatient. But could I really fix all of THIS? With some trained discipline? Man, it sounds hard… I guess that’s the point.

  • Hi Per, I like what you wrote in this article. This is the point, this is the right attitude: courage, discipline, constancy, lerning = success. I look forward to write to you soon so that I can get a little help from you. I wish you a nice year. God bless!

  • Hi Per – You are totally right! I don’t like quick fixes, no way. In the end you have to do it all over again. My motto – do it right the fidrst time and save yourself a lot of headache!

  • HI Per I have read this article all the way through and i could not agree more. I admit as other people in the comments have yes i do sometimes like quick fixes but only on minor things. But i agree, there is a very fine line between achieving instant success and being rewarded with true skills from really working hard. The way i see it, when we really want something we often want to immediately jump to the end result. However i do not believe that is necessarily because we are lazy rather, that we as a nation have always had a huge drive to succeed and thrive in our dreams and life goals and i believe that’s a wonderful thing. But we sometimes forget that in order to achieve instant success, we must go through the steps to get it. That is why i agree so strongly with what you say. Yes it is very possible to learn quickly and achieve instant success but sometimes we may need to go through a bit more steps and we often let our ambition make us, for lack of a better term, jump the gun. Maybe that is why that coach perceived us to be lazy. But i can assure you not all Americans, just because they want quick fixes, are lazy; they just let their excitement confuse them where they cannot tell the difference between something that you can quickly learn and something that takes practice. I admit i have been guilty in the past of doing this. I apologize as i realize i am becoming very confusing here. My basic point is that i agree with you; it is possible to quickly or instantly become good at something without much work as it shows you have excellent skills and a strong frame of mind however even if you are able to do so you must first know the steps to be able to repeat your actions in the future unless you are a one time learner meaning you will remember the steps to anything the first time around, but other things require just a bit longer and more discipline and patience. But it takes a truly trained and hard working mind to be able to tell the difference. Either way i believe that hard work is always important if you truly want to achieve your dreams. I hope i have made sense and thank you for reading.

  • I love to barrel race. When I first started all I thought about was completing the clover leaf pattern with the fastes time. I went to a clinic and learned there is a lot of stuff that hapens before getting to the first barrel and so on. It is not the speed that wins the race but doing everything correctly on time, before, during and after circling the barrel. Point being, everything takes time to develop as stated above in all aspects of life and my singing.

  • Per, your Jan 05, 2013 post is very interesting. The comparison of how gifts are unwrapped in different cultures is thought provoking. I was teased for being so slow about unwrapping my gifts this year.
    Your teaching has helped me a lot. After wishing for many years, I finally joined the church choir. I would not have had the confidence too if I had not listened to the things you had to say. As a teen, I was told that I am an Alto. After using my OWN voice I find I am a Mezzo-suprano. I was always self conscious and confused about whether I should sing Falseto or Alto so finding my voice makes singing a pleasure.
    Thank you for your contribution to the world. It would be a very quiet world if only the best birds sang.

  • 1/18/13 Sorry,i viewed the message late. Great q&a, on wednesday,1/16/13. To respond to this article, as with everything,I personally try to reason, more than to be emotive(that may not be what’s outhere, but nobody knows my thoughts better than me,I am dipomatic, almost to a fault) As an adult, i am patient enough, to wait for delayed gratification.I am not use to instant gratification, although, it would be good, occasionally. While i dislike bad surprises, an occasional good surprise, would be divine . Happy New Year, to everyone!

  • I just love christmas but i’m not like some lunatics who rip open the paper and don’t care who’s present it is. I do things metodically. Happy New Year to you allxx

  • I have learned a lot from you, I have learned to be able to hold notes real long and finally my voice has improved considerably. I feel like God has asked me to sing and I hope that I have been able to satisfy HIM! I do feel proud that my voice has improved like it has. It does take time and patience and practice. In the beginning I wasn’t so sure
    that I would be able to change my singing voice but with your help it has improved considerably. I want to thank you
    for all of the things that you have been able to help me with!
    I feel so good now when I start singing. Actually I have always wanted to sing well and now I have. You are a blessing in disguise and I am so thankful for you. I do hope
    you can understand what I am trying to say.

    GOD bless you,
    Dianne Troutt

  • Hi Per,

    First off, love your program. It released a voice I didn’t realize I even had.

    Now the crappy part…
    Last month I had a rotten flu. It got into my throat and chest and ears… the whole works. Now I have lost about two, maybe three, notes off my falsetto voice.

    I was about to finish a song that had a good amount of it. I am extremely frustrated. Angry in fact. I was hoping to perform it at a show but those notes aren’t coming back. I’ve been working on this song for a year.

    Is there a way I can get them to come back? — Other than dropping the key of my song, which I can’t really do at this point due to the nature of the piece.

    I am nearly 45 and don’t want to give way to age-related loss of range.

  • One step forward two steps bact. I sometimes feel this way about the world we live in. I must admit I love some of the old fashioned ways, values and behaviours. I prefer the old movies, the old timer cars, the dress code especially.
    I think people took great care in their appearance and manners in past gererations. Now I feel anything goes!

  • Hi per you have really helped me a lot the one trouble I have is reaching the high notes. Can you help me?

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