I’m listening to a classical quartet on my iPod at the moment. I hear the beautiful and melodious cello solo. I played the cello for years… why didn’t I ever sound like that?
I have come to understand that if I ask a question, I will get an answer. And I got it. It takes time and practice to learn a craft. Whether it is playing an instrument, learning a second language, or making consecutive free throws, time and practice will move along the process towards proficiency.
As I listen to the beautiful cello, I recall that I was able to learn to play it pretty easily since I could already read music. But I didn’t progress. I also remember starting many different and exciting things, however as soon as it got to be a challenge, I would quit.
Why didn’t I move beyond a rudimentary level with things? Sure, my parents urged me to practice, but it didn’t help because I’d sit in there and not do it. As I ponder it right now, I think it took a level of intimacy that I wasn’t capable of achieving. I think it took being interested enough to dig down a little deeper inside myself to get over the challenging and tough stuff in order to get better.
I was very fragile emotionally (although I put up a good front that all was well), and needed lots of reassurance. I couldn’t stomach not being good at something. My inner critic was always front and center and I couldn’t stand adding fuel to it’s already raging fire of, “See, Janet, I told you that you suck,” so I didn’t even try. That resulted in so many false starts, I can’t even tell you!
I think now about where I might have been had I faced the tough stuff head on. But that’s of no consequence now, because after having healed emotionally, I now tackle tough stuff all of the time, and with flying colors. I no longer fear it, as I’m confident now that I can rise to the challenge. I also embrace all of my false starts because they allowed me to arrive here, healthy, happy and heartfelt.
If you find yourself shying away from hard stuff, you’re not alone. I recently heard on a documentary (forgive me for not remembering which one!) that we human beings are (1) pleasure-seeking, (2) pain averse, and (3) always look for the path of least resistance. However, think about the concert pianist, the bi-lingual woman or the basketball star. They concentrated on their craft and got better and better. They made the choice to forego the easier and more pleasurable immediate gratification in favor of honing their craft.
To assist you in foregoing the easy stuff to get better in learning your craft, please remember to use your imagination. Envision yourself doing really, really well at your craft. For example, if you are learning to dance, imagine yourself happily flowing with amazing dance moves. Feel the feeling now of being good at it and having tremendous fun while doing it.
Within your own imagination is all of the glorious and fun stuff you see for your future self. Allow your future self to lovingly collide with your present self, take the time to put in the effort, and let the happy feeling carry you through it. When you put in the effort, you will get better and better at what you are doing!