Achieving goals and much of life is still about common sense and old-fashioned values.
On 29 April, in this post, I wrote about my lack of musical ability and the reasons for setting a goal to learn to read music and play a musical instrument.
Here is the brief background:
In Standard 2 which is equivalent to Grade 4 in North American schools, I was told that I had absolutely no musical ability, was tone-deaf and that my singing was so awful that I upset the rest of the class. I was banned from any further participation, told to bring a book to classes and sit in a corner and read.
Mrs. McLeod was a good English teacher, I am grateful that she instilled in me a love of language, the importance of reading and a degree of writing skill. However she doomed me to a life of musical incompetence.
In the earlier post, I wrote how I had achieved my goal of playing a few simple tunes and reading music.
The next goal was to play in public. The only audience I have had has been Sue in the next room with my music competing with the TV and those cats who do not flee outside as soon as I start playing. Either my skill has improved or one of the cats feels sorry for me because as soon as I start my evening practice, she appears and demands attention.
On Friday last week, I was invited to join a group of older country singers, guitar and fiddle players for their weekly jam session. If I had listened to Mrs. McLeod’s words from over 50 years ago, I might have gone to listen but I would not have taken my guitar.
But I didn’t, I listened to the same inner voice that told me I could run a 50 mile ultra-marathon, the same voice that told me that I would survive the worst that we experienced in Zimbabwe. I sat on the corner of a stage and strummed along with a group. It was not a brilliant performance, I did not know the songs, had no music to follow, missed chord changes.
It did not matter, I was not near a microphone so was only a minor background disturbance to the skilled performers. Very few people could hear my efforts.
But I did it.
It was a very rewarding experience, I learned the rhythm by feeling it, not just hearing and seeing it on a video. I met new people.
Most importantly I stepped way outside my comfort zone – and survived.
What lessons can be found in this story of an old boomer taking 18 months to achieve what a teenager would probably do in a couple of weeks?
Belief – Limiting beliefs can be replaced.
I changed a belief that I had held for over 50 years, it had been thrust on me by a teacher more concerned about the rest of her class than one un-musical pupil.
Taking Action – Small, regular steps accomplish big goals.
Spectacular, quick results are rare in most endeavours. I made progress by small daily increments, not huge leaps.
The importance of Perseverance.
Improvement came from consistently practising 6 days a week until it became a habit. Persevering despite painful finger and wrist joints from unfamiliar movements or finger tips sore from the strings.
Determination to succeed, I scheduled practice time every day and never gave up the belief that I would succeed.
Courage to Overcome Fear
Overcoming the fear of making a fool of myself. Age helps, the older I get, the less I worry about what other people think. The other musicians and the audience were very encouraging and supportive.
The glue that kept it all together. I committed myself to practice 6 days a week, to succeed no matter how long it took, no matter how slow progress seemed at times.
None of these six values are new, they have been around since man stood upright, early philosophers and leaders like Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius wrote about them, Abraham Lincoln displayed all of them. More recently inspirational speakers, military leaders, sports and personal development coaches have identified them as necessary for success in any field.
The problem is, that many of the modern “experts” have complicated the recipe and the message. Made out that we need expensive experts to hold our hands, special “apps” to monitor our performance. Affirmations, visualisation, meditation and a host of other stuff. All important, essential at times, but only if we get the basics right.
To be the best in many fields, we do need coaches, programmes and technology to find that last fraction of a second in speed or reaction time. The last ounce of strength, improvement in technique.
But those last difficult improvements can only be possible after we have taken action and got a good start on the journey ourselves.
We must have the 6 fundamental values to do that.
Kevin Hogan writes in his Acquisition, Comprehensive Goal attainment course that there are only five steps to the secret of success: (affiliate link)
See, Believe, Begin, Continue, Finish.
Most people never get past the third. By nurturing the six core values you dramatically increase your probability of accomplishing all five.
How well-developed are your core values?