Not so long ago I was sitting in my recently tidied apartment with nothing but 4 hours of completely obligation free time. It was terrifying. I had no idea what I should be doing. I mean, I could fall down a rabbit hole of some Netflix show that I don’t really care about, or scroll through the interwebs endlessly, but to what end?
Excessive free time isn’t a state most of us find ourselves in, I don’t think. Though, who am I to speculate, maybe you have an insane amount of free time and I’m just projecting busy-ness onto all of you. But, at least from how we all go on, we seem to generally live (or create) rather busy lives.
I, however, am in this weird sweet spot in my life where I have almost no weekly obligations other than showing up to my Monday – Friday, 9 – 5 job. I should really get to volunteering for something, but that’s a discussion for a different day. I also happen to have a friend who has two children under the age of 3 and a husband who travels a lot for work. The stark juxtaposition of our lives struck me in the face with the realization that I will probably never have more free time in my life than I do right now, and I best take full advantage of it to follow whatever whims I choose.
Concurrently, but largely unrelated-ly, I was thinking about how I basically, without intending to do so, got pretty good at playing darts. You see, I have a friend that wanted to play darts once a week so I started following him to the bar, mostly to be social and enjoy cheap beer at dive-bar prices. But each week I’d be coerced to play – and miserably lose – game after game.
Eventually, after enough weeks, and enough losses, the games started to end with me a little closer on the scoreboard. Now, a year and a bit later, those weekly trips to the dart board means I’m a contender (take that Brando). I didn’t consciously say ‘I’m going to work at getting great at this’ and I definitely didn’t read about techniques or how the pros win. It was really just blunt force repetition and then bam, I got better.
This basic notion that if I just stuck with something once or twice a week I would get better is so inanely simple that I’d never really entertained it.
With this in mind, I basically concluded that I could learn to do anything. That’s right, anything. It also made practicing seems a less of a chore, and more like a deposit I was making so I could level up.
Too often I look at the end goal of where I want to be or what I want to accomplish and it seems wholly unattainable. The road is too long. The goal too big. Its just too much work.
By making putting the time in the goal, instead of the goal itself being the goal you are successful every time you practice. That’s a bit convoluted, but it means that practicing isn’t a chore, but the goal itself. You know what they say, life isn’t about arriving its about how you got there, or the journey and not necessarily the mountain top, or you get the picture.
Suddenly, success is more about commitment and less about ability. If I’ve got the time, I can probably learn anything I want. It seems dumb even saying it, but thinking about it this way made me a lot more ambitious to do things that I’d long since written off as out of my reach.
Which, to arrive at the point of this all, is why I bought a ukulele.