Awhile back I was listening to NPR in the car, and they were speaking to a dedicated athlete-musician. I can’t find the segment and I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she was talking about her willingness to accept the drudgery of deliberate, painful, boring practice being an essential element to success in both music and sports. To be good at something, you have to work at it even when it is not fun or interesting or exciting. In fact, a majority of the time spent on it will not be fun or interesting or exciting, but the mastery produced will be satisfying.
But the principle remains the same and should be an encouragement, whether or not those watching attach the same value to our work.
Improvement and mastery is satisfying. Improvement and mastery takes time, deliberate intentionality, attention, work, and repetition. A majority of the time spent in the activity is dull if not painful. But those who achieve greatness find the dull or painful repetition worth the end result. They look past the present difficulty and boredom to the end it is accomplishing; they look at what they were capable of a year before, see progress, are made happy and satisfied in seeing that progress, and press on so that in another year they will see improvement a year hence.
And that examination, and not the in-the-moment drudgery, is where a bulk of the fulfillment and happiness lies.
More Monday Motivation
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