Friday, 16 July 2010

The 3 month priniciple

I wrote this in August 2008. Left it unpublished. Don't know why?

I come back after many a day with few words of wisdom. Long time ago in our very own Bangalore, I had gotten bored and frustrated of the daily routine. Looking for a change and a hobby I decided to take up the guitar. Being a cheapskate and a cynic, I decided not to invest in one but borrow an orphaned guitar form a friend. Also, I decided not to join a class but learn from the wise internet.

After two days of dissonant sounds, finger-pain, rewinding and playing of instructional videos, I called it quits. Guitar playing was not for me. The guitar was orphaned again and it lay in a corner, accumulating dust and providing shelter to plenty of cockroach families.

Later that year, I went to the United States on official work. A colleague of mine invited me and few other colleagues of mine for an evening of video games. It was there that I first played guitar hero. And was it fun!

When I returned back to India, I found out that guitar hero was not available in India (well, I don't own a television or a X-Box 360 but those are trivial details). Sadly I slumped back into my cubicle and office work. In one of the following days, I was narrating the tale about my encounter with guitar hero to Naveen and my consequent disappointment, when he introduced to the wonderful frets on fire. The open-source guitar hero clone which works for the P.C. I was hooked.

I spent the next two months mastering the game and I could play it at the highest level and ace all the notes. Riding on this high, I thought how difficult could playing the real guitar be. So, I uncovered the layers of dust and cobwebs and took out the guitar. I saw the same instructional videos again, and to my surprise I still sucked as badly as I had.

But then this time around I was determined. I used to practice daily for an hour or so and after couple of weeks the pain reduced a bit (not completely, mind you). I had plenty of encouragement from my guitar advisers (comprising of my brother, Rakesh, Rajesh and of course Justin Sandercoe) and I plodded on relentlessly.

Now, though still a beginner, I'm not that bad. I can play songs, figure out strumming patterns on my own. Which now brings me to the point of the post.

Around two months ago I joined a guitar class. Being Bangalore it was heavy on the pockets and completely full of software engineers and yes all guys. The class, according to the instructor, was the most populous one till date. We had the classes once a week on Sunday afternoons. The classes went on and one by one the people started dropping. In the final two classes there were only three students left. At the beginning of the class there were twelve. I'm sure that they, like me, got awed by the task ahead and gave up. None of them were ready to be committed to the art for three months (approximate time when you stop sucking at guitar).

I think most people only commit a few days to a particular skill/endeavour. They don't get instant gratification and give it up (what was your last longest gym/morning walk/jog stint/musical instrument?). We have studied in engineering colleges where you study the last few days (hours?) before the exam and still manage to pull through. I think we are applying the same attitude to other things as well. And the truth is it just doesn't work.

Every skill/endeavour takes time (If you think about it, see how long it took you to learn English, learn to drive etc.) and the toughest part is the beginning: the time when you are not that good and it is so easy to give up. But once your past this stage, you will find that you start to actually enjoy the activity. And the key to this is nothing but plain simple discipline for the first three months.


seeker said...

You are absolutely right. Starting something new is not a difficult one (coz all the time one gets bored and want to do something new), but continuing it takes a lot of commitment. And I was truly inspired on seeing ur commitment for running :)