Should I use some time to learn something new or to get better at something I’m pretty good at? Yes. It is a quandary since time is finite. There are always things to learn and there is nothing that each of us are good at but could also get better.
I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. Piano lessons when I was a lad failed, though I believe that dealing with me likely benefitted Sr. Dolores on her path to heaven. I tried again at 16. I did pretty well until the lessons required getting my left hand involved by cooperating with my right hand. My left hand has a mind of its own.
In the intervening years between piano attempts, I showed a proclivity to writing and photography. I seemed to have some talent in those areas and have embraced them throughout my life. I can get better at both…of course!
But some things just gnaw, like wanting to play an instrument. When I went through the “what I want in my life” exercise described in the book The Aladdin Factor, I included learning to play the acoustic guitar. Two years ago, I bought a guitar and enrolled in a learn-to-play-in-30-days program (and ongoing instruction). One month. It has been almost 24 and I still don’t know how to play. To be fair, I was making reasonable progress until a couple of hospital stays in the summer of ’21. The lessons were going pretty well until I needed more compliance from my left hand…the one with a mind of its own. Lack of progress led to frustration to lack of practice to…back to step one. I have not surrendered; I am re-grouping.
I think that is okay. By tackling something of interest, it has the called the question as to whether I should use time to get better at the things I know how to do well (but could do better) or persist by changing patterns to learn something new. After all, I am still a young man…at least in my own mind. I discovered the answer to the question is “yes.”