We’ve heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” I have had insecurities about my body for as long as I can remember. I remember telling my mom in elementary school (or even earlier) that I didn’t want to wear the shorts she got me because I was too self-conscious about my body. I was always the “chubbier” friend, and I always convinced myself that I ate less than others and that it was all genetics. In the middle of my undergrad, I lost a lot of weight and realized you ARE what you eat. Of course there are other factors: how much you exercise, your metabolism, genetics, etc. But in the end, when I was truly honest with myself, I was what I ate.
It’s the same with practicing.
We’ve all thought, “some people don’t have to practice as much.” and “things come more naturally for some people.” It is normal. I have said it numerous times myself. But, have we thought about how these might be just excuses for our shortcomings? By saying these things, we are lowering our own expectations and protecting ourselves to accept average results because we have already laid out those excuses. Instead, what if we asked questions like: “was I honestly practicing well in my practice room? Did I cheat even 10% of how I’m supposed to be working?”
I am not neglecting other factors. Some are born with bigger hands. Some did start earlier. Things come more naturally to some. But, so what? If we feel like we’re lacking in some way, why don’t we just work that much harder? It’s okay if it takes longer than others. It’s okay if we have to work harder than others in some aspects. For example, we might say that “some play more in tune because they have been practicing double stops since they were young.” Instead of saying that, have we really looked at our left hand to see if the hand frame was balanced for each note? Or if our neck was tight? Was our left shoulder tight? Right shoulder? Were we letting one thing slip and blaming it on other excuses? If others have things we don’t, we need to figure out how to attain them. What’s the process? What is it that we’re missing? Is it mental? Is it physical? Or both?
“Talent” and “Luck” are overrated. We need them, but they are out of our control. We can only make them work in our favor by doing the right things and trying our best in our own ways. Life is too difficult to get through solely by “talent,” and “luck” is never in our hands to control.
So what CAN we do?
Practice honestly. Don’t cheat. Create your own talent and luck! Enjoy the process because learning something is fun when we understand it. We are what we practice.