Why I am not giving up and why you shouldn't either!
September 10, 2013

Why I am not giving up and why you shouldn’t either!

Disclaimer: This post discusses my personal outlook on not giving up things like hobbies, positives goals, new ideas, etc. Please seek help from a professional if you need help quitting an addiction or an abusive situation.

My cat Kilala sitting on the organ, watching me practice

My cat Kilala sitting on the organ, watching me practice.

By the end of my last lesson, I was feeling discouraged as my progress feels very slow. On the drive to drop Michael (my teacher) off, I asked him if he ever thought I would give up. He didn’t hesitate to answer with “Yes”. He also went on to say that I get an A in persistence and dedication. For the record, Michael has never suggested that I quit and believes in my ability to correct my issues.

But should I give up?

Should I give up because I am slow? It would be easy to quit. I could give all the usual excuses quitters give like “It was too hard”, “it just wasn’t meant to be”, “I didn’t have enough time”, or “I was too old to really learn it”. A few family members and friends would be disappointed, but life would go on. I’d stop going to organ concerts. My adventure into learning the pipe organ would be reduced to a small chapter of my life.

September 2013 marks four years of taking organ lessons. Four years of lessons and practice sounds like plenty of time, doesn’t? What’s taking me so long? When I first started many hours were spent on learning to play the pedals. Then there was time needed to develop the coordination to play the manuals (keyboards) and pedals at the same time. My keyboard skills were also rusty as it had been about 20 years since taking piano lessons. Even now, it still takes me many months to learn to play a new hymn correctly. I have worked on Prelude and Fugue in C Major (BWV 553) by probably not Bach for over 2 years. I have practiced sections of this piece thousands of times incorrectly without realizing it or thinking I had it fixed (as mentioned in my last post, I need to become a better listener).

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell presents the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something. I have not read this book and there is also debate over the 10,000 hours rule. But for now, let’s go with it. On average I practice about 5 hours a week. And let’s say I practice 48 weeks of the year which excludes vacation time, illness, etc. This would put me at only 960 total hours of organ practice since I began.

Why I am not giving up:

  1. I like playing the organ
  2. I feel good when playing the organ
  3. I haven’t practiced enough yet
  4. I want to help others worship God by playing the organ while they sing hymns
  5. Giving up is the easy way out
  6. Learning the pipe organ has had a positive impact on my life
  7. My cats like to listen to me play (I have video and photographic proof!)
  8. I don’t want to end up back on this list of people who are afraid to start something new (update: since writing this post, the list I mentioned is no longer available, as Jon Acuff’s site has moved to http://acuff.me/.
  9. Insert your favorite Michael Jordan cut from high school basketball team to NBA star story

Now you may be wondering, that’s nice, but what does this have to do with you? Have you ever wanted to quit something? Have you ever felt like it was just not worth the trouble? Have you ever quit because someone else thought you should? The list of my reasons can be modified for most dreams, hobbies, business, goals, etc.

 Why you shouldn’t give up:

  1. You like [dream/hobby/business]
  2. You feel good when practicing your [dream/hobby/business]
  3. You haven’t practiced enough yet
  4. You want to help others worship God with your [dream/hobby/business]
  5. Giving up is the easy way out
  6. Your [dream/hobby/business] has had positive impact on your life
  7. Your cats (or other pets) like your [dream/hobby/business]
  8. You don’t want to end up back on this list of people who are afraid to start something new (update: since writing this post, the list I mentioned is no longer available, as Jon Acuff’s site has moved to http://acuff.me/.
  9. Insert your favorite Michael Jordan cut from high school basketball team to NBA star story

What reasons can you add to this list?

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Mom - September 11, 2013 Reply

Well Heidi, I never thought you would quit so maybe I am on the “would be disappointed if you quit list”.
Play as long as you enjoy it. This is something that is really for you and don’t feel pressured by me or others.
If that happens it would not provide you the pleasure it does now.
I like the picture too.

    Heidi Bender - September 11, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Mom.

    Today’s picture was chosen to support reason #7.

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