This first appeared as a guest post on “The Midnight Muse,” a column by Cristian Mihai on irevuo.com.
After many years of enjoying listening to music, I decided to learn to play it. I’ve never been one for watching, so it seemed odd to me that I had not yet learned how to play my favorite music myself, and had, instead, relied upon access to a stereo.
So, I bought a guitar. I still can’t play it – but, given what I’ve learned so far, I’m suspicious of anyone who claims to really understand what the guitar can do. I think that some people know it better than others, but the guitar is the kind of creature who has more secrets than she has time to share.
I find this satisfying. And compelling.
Anyway, as I began to learn how to play, I read an article by a well-know guitarist and instructor on the topic of “talent.” His point was quite simple: talent is earned, developed and acquired. Given enough practice, anyone can develop “talent.” It’s just a question of how much time and hard work it takes.
He continued to explain that, whatever your excuses might be, if you don’t practice, you can’t possibly hope to improve. Your reasons for spending your time doing something else might be quite good, in fact, they may have been the smarter choice. Regardless, it was time you spent *not* practicing. Therefore….
The principle holds true for all forms of art, expression, relationship, or work. If you spend your time doing something else, you won’t get better. You have to practice to improve.