Friday, January 29, 2010

The Better Gene

When I was 9 I started taking piano lessons at the local music shop. I didn't care much for reading music but I did it because I wanted to be better at playing. I could already play the piano by ear much better than I could read the music. I was writing songs (simple ones) even before I started taking lessons. I eventually quite lessons because of finances if I remember correctly. At that time I was 12 or 13. At age 19 I started playing guitar and devoted myself to it. And my life is what it is because of that decision. There are obviously much better things that have happened to me over the years; my wife and kids being the greatest.

Since a young age I've always had a deep longing to be better at whatever I was working on at the moment. It has never been about competition between myself and other people or to puff up my ego. It's just part of me. It's more of a competition between myself and myself. I think it's an inherited "gene" that makes me this way. It has it's positives for sure. It has allowed me to become great at my job and do lots of really cool stuff. It is certainly tiring. It even creeps into my off time. I can't just simply beat a video game. I must conquer every aspect of it, find all the hidden secrets, beat the hardest level, it becomes work. In my guitar playing I must learn the most complex piece I can handle at the time. Measure by measure I play every note like it occurs on the recording or the sheet music. After I learn it I must figure out how and why it sounds like it does related to theory. I don't even care if I ever perform the song. I will sometimes share it with my friends, more so out of joy of the music than anything.

It certainly comes in handy with my job. Since it's a professional field one has to be good to keep business coming. I am able to learn a lot about any given part of my field if it hits the mark in my brain that says "go for it". I found I have little control of what it is that takes my mind to that place. It seems to be, that when I focus on something or get a good idea, my brain decides for me to either go on without being over excited or to take the thing and run with it. So I try to be selective of what I put in front of me or what I think about for extended periods of time. I have little control of what will consume my time with betterment. The older I get the more I recognize the signs that it's coming and so I've learned to shut off the process early if I catch it. Sometimes I realize I'm in the middle of something that is a waste of time and I'm learning to break the course with certain activities or distractions. Other times I recognize that it will be good for me to learn or do whatever it is that has caught me and off it goes. Hopefully one day I'll have the rhythm down.

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