Like Guitars…

Like Guitars…

The guitar has always had a certain appeal to me.  Not just to hear them, but to hold and touch them.  The guitar has always had an aura of mystery to me.  

Like many, I have purchased a guitar or two in my life with the best of intentions, only to lay them down within a few weeks to gather dust in favor of greater priorities.  Though many times my imagination has seen me become proficient with a guitar, my reality has seen me dislike the idea of practice, thus getting nowhere.  

I’ll suggest most people who take guitar lessons aim simply to be proficient.  I have no idea how many people who take guitar lessons ever become proficient.  I recently asked a friend who is a guitar teacher about this and when he was done rolling his eyes, he said, “very few”.  He went on to remind me that people can take lessons ongoing, but if they don’t practice, the wont progress.  

This is something I can relate to as a teacher of exercise and fitness.  People have been recruiting my services for years, as a midwife between themselves and improved fitness. Like the guitar, being fit has a certain allure as well as an aura of mystery — something we would all like to have a proficiency with. It’s easy to imagine being more fit, as it is easy to imagine playing Proud Mary by the campfire. 

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Though imagination is a beautiful thing, it alone doesn’t get the ship across the sea.  Fitness takes more than lessons.  Like playing the guitar with proficiency, fitness takes practice — and time.  

Purchasing a gym membership, a diet plan, or even the services of a fitness trainer won’t guarantee results.  Consistency in practice, and patience are the primary means of conveyance. 

And that’s where this little sermon ends — with the thought that becoming proficient with your body is no different than becoming proficient an instrument, though I’ll suggest one is slightly more important…  Jhciacb 

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Ass Chewing: It Leaves A Bitter Aftertaste.

If your job is to land jets on an aircraft carrier, it’s assumed that you are good at it.  That’s why you get a paycheck.

Say one day you have bad landing.  Your commanding officer witnesses this and gives you an ass chewing.  Your next landing is noticeably better, and your CO sees the difference.  He assumes that the ass chewing got you to raise your game, and now ass chewing is deeper in his leadership DNA.

Conversely, one day you have a particularly good landing – a textbook landing, and your CO sees it.  He’s delighted, so he praises your competence.  Your next landing isn’t as good, so he assumes his praise caused you to ease up on your attention to detail.  From this, he chooses to avoid praises in leadership style for its obvious detriment to the cause of landing jets safely on deck.

Here’s the thing; you’re there landing jets on small spaces because you’ve been proven competent at doing so.  On average, you always get the job done within the scope of expectations.

Truth:  An exceptional landing will almost always be followed by a lesser one.

Truth:  A poor landing will almost always be followed by a better one.

It’s the law of median effect.

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Yet much of our institutionalized instruction is rooted in the discipline of ass chewings.  Academia, sports teams, our military and so-on depend on ass chewings to raise their game.  Praise though, is used all too sparingly in these environments.

Turns out that in the big picture, praise may not raise one’s game all that much.  Still, praise contributes to a positive environment.

It also turns out that ass chewings don’t do too much to raise one’s game – and very often make for a demoralized environment.

One more truth:  Success in anything is rooted exclusively in intelligent training, and consistent practice over long periods of time…  Jhciacb

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If you are not already a subscriber, please scroll up and do so.  Tell your friends about me — about what happens when I push the STOP button on the blender in my head. Oh, and there’s this from the best band on earth, Los Lobos.  Enjoy…