PASSION MAKES PERSISTENT PRACTICE POSSIBLE: zero motivation required
“I don’t think that Rachel should come any more” was apparently the phrase used by my piano tutor to my parents when reviewing my lack of seven year old progress at learning the great musical instrument, the very same one that both my Mum and older sister achieved Grade Eight Distinction at mastering.
I suspect the comment was somewhat sugar-coated, although I was told that my less than ideal left and right hand skills in coordination were not helping my proficiency. You may think that I would have been devastated by this rejection, however I was relieved. I hated learning to play the piano! I had not been given any choice in the matter and perhaps unbeknownst to all at the time (although this would become subsequently more obvious) I have a high need for autonomy and therefore my brain experienced an overwhelming emotional stress response at being in my mind, forced to learn something.
When you love doing something, it feels like you deploy hardly any effort at all. You WANT to do the thing, you never have to “motivate” yourself to do it and excuses such as “I forgot my gym kit” or “I did not have time to practise this week” just do not feature in your vocabulary.
Funnily enough, I was sharing this story with my nieces in the car at the weekend. It is vital that you do what you love. Contrary to some belief, it is unlikely that we will ever be good at everything. Therefore, choosing what energises us, what promotes joy, what makes us feel alive is in my opinion, essential to living a happy and fulfilling life.
Of course, the only way we can find out what enhances our existence is by trying things out, giving stuff a go. When we get to adult life, this can include a career, relationship, hobbies and where we live. However, if the passion is not there to begin with, you will not put the hours in over time to improve your performance or make it thrive. When you watch the Olympics this August, you can bet that they love practising!
If you are finding something a constant chore, is it worth continuing? Can you pat yourself on the back for trying and decide that you do not have to keep going because unlike elite athletes, no medals are at stake.
After all, the more everyone is doing what they love and using their natural and learned strengths and talents at work and at home, the happier and even more innovative this world will become.