The quote above has been variously attributed to both Plato and Socrates. It ranks right up there with the command, “Know thyself” – indeed, both are variations on the same theme.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have, for a very long time, been engaged in the examination of myself. I recently had an insight that humbles me, and shook to my core.
You see, one of the stable data I’ve worked with throughout my life was that, because of the combination of a higher-than-average IQ and a very high literacy skill, I have a near infinite capacity to learn new things. I’ve employed it to my advantage so many times that the list is ridiculous.
So, imagine my consternation at realizing that my gift has also worked against me.
A couple of years ago I embarked on the realization of a life-long dream to learn to play the guitar. I was in junior high school (primary school grades 7 & 8) when I remember first wanting to learn. The school music instructor had a special “extra curricular” class after school for students interested in learning. There was one catch – the school didn’t own any guitars, so each interested student had to provide his/her own. My parents were not willing to help me get one, so the chance passed me by.
Then I learned of the “video game” called ROCKSMITH – which you might compare to Guitar Hero, but the comparison is faulty. To use ROCKSMITH, you actually use a real guitar, and it teaches you how to play the real guitar. I bought the game, and an electric guitar, and settled in.
An hour later, I had to put the guitar down. The tips of the fingers on my left hand were so sore I couldn’t use them for hours. In the nearly 2 years since, I’ve repeated the scenario several times, with very long breaks in between. A few days ago I was sitting in the living room looking at the guitar, and wondering why I hadn’t learned to play it yet. Which led me to the epiphany.
Because learning has always come easily to me, I’ve never invested much effort into it. I never had to learn PATIENCE. But, patience is exactly what I need if I’m to condition my fingers for the job of playing a guitar. Or, perhaps it’s perseverance; I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see if I have “the right stuff.”