Persistence is the key to learning something new. Taking up something new as an adult can be a challenge. Here are some situations that you may need to persist through:
- Reaching your goal may take longer than you want it to or you ever dreamed. When I started organ lessons a few years ago, I’d thought I would be playing for a church within a year or two!
- You may not be your teacher’s best student.
- There will be people younger than you that can do it better than you. Remember to not compare your journey to someone else’s.
- Questions. You will get many questions. How much longer will you need to take lessons? Why are you still taking lessons? Why didn’t you pick something easier? Why are doing that?
- As an adult it can feel like you are the crab trying to escape the crab bucket, while the other crabs try to keep you in the bucket. (Read more about the Crab Metaphor here http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-crab-mentality.htm).
- There may be barriers to overcome to get started. I had to find a teacher and then an organ to practice on. I was fortunate that the first potential teacher I asked said yes!
We need persistence to keep going. Without it, we would give up. When the questions come about our new activity, and we start to wonder why are we doing it anyway, we’d quit. There may be times when you feel like you are not going to get it. You may feel defeated. If the new activity is something you want to master (regardless of how long it is taking), persistence gets you through the difficult periods.
What Persistence looks like
Susan Cain states in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that “Persistence isn’t very glamorous”. Persistence means it is going to take time. Here are some suggestions:
- Continue to take action. Keep practicing and learning. Only thinking about what you want to do someday will not make it happen.
- Build daily habits and routines. Find a time where you can practice for at least 15 or 30 minutes a day. This is easier said then done, as this is something I struggle to do. It is much easier to write about persisting than to live it out!
- Record the time spent on your practicing and learning. This will show how a little bit of persistence each day adds up over time. I write my time in on a calendar. In the past I used a larger full year calendar. This year I am using a monthly calender and a notebook.
- Take one step at a time. I needed to learn the basics of organ playing before I could learn to play a complete hymn.
- Do what your teacher and/or mentors tell you to do. They are the teacher for a reason!
I once received a message in a fortune cookie that said “Your persistence will pay off”. Now, I do not believe in fortune telling, but this is great advice, regardless of the source!
Do you struggle with persistence? Is there anything you have been learning for a while? Also, feel free to share stories persistence success stories in your comments.