Practicing

Practice makes perfect. It’s an old saying that has stuck around for so long because it’s true. You’ll never become good at anything unless you practice. And really what’s the point of being good anyway? It’s to become great at something.

Often I see people post videos on Facebook of child virtuoso’s. These pint-sized Pagininis are musicians, an achievement that is best unlocked through practice.

Yet the majority of us don’t want to practice. I’ve never been good at playing an instrument because I have never been good at learning how to play an instrument. In various times of my life I have expressed a desire to learn, but the habit of practicing has been hard to grow. Maybe instead of teachers teaching us how to play they should teach us how to practice? They teach us the method so that we can go home and practice. And a select number of us end up practicing while a whole bunch of us don’t and we never really learn. Those of us who don’t do it lack that self-discipline to follow through.

commitment

Habits are formed through practice. When I sit down in front of a piano or keyboard to practice my playing or writing I get uncomfortable. The discomfort is greater in front of the piano than it is in front of the laptop because I have more practice hours in front of that machine, but nonetheless it’s still there, which is why my blogging output is so meagre.

So what do you do when you’re trying to motivate yourself to keep practicing, long after the mood you made that commitment within has left you?

A friend of mine, Chris Hercules, has a great method of self-motivation, and it’s wonderfully simple. He counts. He counts the number of minutes he practices the piano and flute. He counts the number of pieces of poetry he writes. He counts. And when you count for a number of times, you end up with a number that’s either greater or less than the one you hoped for. You see all the work you’ve done in the past to get to where you are now. It’s not hard to see it because it’s a number.

Chris and I challenged each other this week with a series of goals, some that involve counting and others that do not. I like that we’re helping each other to stay motivated because sometimes you need a friend to put a fire under your ass to get going.

One of my goals is to write two blog posts in one week. So here is the first one! And I’ll continue to challenge myself with this writing goal for the month of October because a writing habit takes more than one week to form.

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