Since it’s been a busy week so far (even if I’ve only woken up to wednesday a few hours ago) I slept early last night. Early for me is about 2pm. I woke up at a reasonable 9:30am, so that means that I got a solid 7.5 hours of sleep which is good. 6 hours is my normal amount, but when I’ve logged in some exercise for the day that amount usually increases because of the extra recovery time. If i exceed 8 hours of sleep, that usually means that I’ve overtrained or something, so 7.5 is within acceptable parameters.
I’ve been having a good day so far, considering I’ve only been awake for about five hours. First off, I picked up the guitar since my fingers were still fresh. I strummed a bit, warming up… and then, today, I tried the song I’ve been working on for the past month or so, “God is the Strength of my Heart.” And you know what? I played the whole song! It wasn’t perfect, but the rhythm was steady, I crashed through my mistakes and kept on going. It actually sounded like the song (at least remotely) and I can’t beleive that what I acheived today ever felt difficult– waking upto it just felt natural.
It’s biology, really– muscle memory stored in your body itself and the coordination that gets imprinted in the growing web of dentrites in your brain make things easy when you practice, removing the need for realtime processing power which is usually the reason for our frustration. At some point, it just becomes natural. The whole process of “practice”, really, is just correcting the growth of those webs of muscle memory and nerves. Like trimming a bushing plant.
It happens all the time that something that is bugging me to oblivion one night will magically be possible from the getgo the next day. Moral of the story? We don’t always see our progress– but not everything is conscious. Sometimes we just have to accept that our physical and neurological growth needs time to catch up with our conscious desires. The only way for that is to accept that we’re going to have to take the time to practice, practice, and practice.
I think that most of the time when people “give up too early” it’s because they’re used to the kind of activities where conscious thought makes all the difference. They look at it like balancing a checkbook. It’s math, it’s numbers– the solution is there, it’s just a question of trying all the angles.
But real learning isn’t like that– real learning has a great deal to do not with intellect or conscious reasoning, but in many cases, brute-force repetition. It sounds barbaric and inefficient, but this I now beleive is the difference between my friends who practiced activities seriously and those who didn’t– they know what it means to practice and not give up. As a result, their scope of learning isn’t only limited to those things that can be acquired through ‘pure thought’– their scope is the world, because their method is ‘hands on’.
(For those of you who haven’t watched it, watch the anime series Hajime No Ippo. For those of you who have already seen it, watch it again.)
Anyway, after guitar, I spent some time watching this new Oprah ‘reality show’ called “next great invention” or something like that. It was, surprisingly, interesting.
After that, it was off to the dojang for some training. The Gwanjangnim’s wife made me breakfast, which was surprising and very kind of her. It has been a long time since I’ve had a home cooked meal.
Now, I sit at work in an office warmed only by sunlight. All is well at the moment.
Well, except for that bruise on my elbow where I totally smoked myself with a nunchuck… but that’s another story.