Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hard Work

I was recently sent an article on the value of hard work, of practice, over and above the concept of talent. Talent, this article went so far as to say, was largely an illusion. Those who excelled in their chosen field have simply put in the hours and hours of practice to get that good. We all have the ability to be really good, if only we were to put in the work.
I am loving my painting this term, and indoor climbing. I don't get a huge amount of time for either and so I won't, I am sure, progress very fast. My painting tutor tells me that it is often necessary to paint 20 or 30 poor paintings before an amazing one comes along and I just don't have that much time to paint. I only have time to climb once a week. I could take that as depressing - I'll never get good so what's the point. But I enjoy them, and every bit I do I get better. I also don't need to feel intimidated by those who are better than me, they just have more time or motivation or passion, or less other interests, or work in that particular area, and so have done more and got better. Maybe I don't want to be that good at everything, maybe I will never have the time, or maybe it will  have to wait for another stage of my life.
There are plenty of other things that practice will improve in my life and life is generous enough to provide many, many opportunities for learning on the go:  patience, listening, self-control, pushing myself not to act out of habit but out of choice, extending grace, asking for help when I need it, seeing things from someone else's point of view. And skill in these seems of far greater value!

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