During my schooling days, whenever my teachers demonstrated something technical or cool, I would always ask "how do you do that?" I'm pretty sure all of us have experienced the same awe and thought when seeing our teachers perform on stage or demonstrate for us during lessons. Even now, while I watch YouTube clips or listen to music during my commutes, I find myself asking "how does he/she do that?" and saying "damn.. that sounds good!"
It's not a secret, and we all know the formula to getting good - practice. But as with everything else, it is always easier said than done. Always! It's easy to tell young students to practice, but they usually end up getting lost in what to practice. For high school or college students, it's usually the how to practice that is frustrating. And honestly, I find myself still going through both phases, especially for areas and instruments I am less comfortable with!
So here's the brutal truth - there are no shortcuts to getting better. You want it, you have to work for it.
Hurts doesn't it? During one of my undergrad semesters, I asked a senior who had graudated, how he "chao keng" and yet, manage to play reasonably well. (If you don't know what chao keng means, click on the link!) He replied me something along the lines of "what chao keng? I worked hard man.." and it opened my mind and changed my perspective forever! Throwing a super loose statement here, but many people want good results without putting in effort, and I was one of them. I wanted to get better by putting in minimal effort, but things don't work that way. My senior's honesty in working hard to attain his level of playing took me aback. It got me seriously thinking that the only way to get better is to really just work on it. If you think about it, athletes don't get faster by sitting on a couch, bodybuilders don't get stronger by drinking protein shakes, and musicians don't get better by just staring at their instruments, hoping to play like a pro one day.
So then how do you do it? While practicing is the answer, I feel that it also boils down to two factors - time and commitment. You have to be absolutely committed to wanting to improve, and you have to put the time in to do it. Time is tricky because we always don't see immediate results, but we have to trust our investment in time in order for it to really shine and bloom. Once you take charge of both, practicing will be fun and oriented! I have some goals I would like to achieve this year, and I've either started on some or "completed" them already. It's not completed because even though I finished the routine, but that doesn't mean I stop working on it. Nothing is ever really completed too.. but hopefully it inspires you to work on something you've started but had to put on hold for a while, or something you've always wanted to do but could never "find the time".
Again, thanks so much for reading this week's post! Do leave some comments on what you think, and especially if you know how hard you've worked to achieve something - I'd like to hear from you! In the meantime, I hope you all stay safe and well!