I was painfully practicing my guitar playing yesterday, trying to rush through a few scales and chords, when I came across something on an instructional web site that really hit me. I was looking for diagrams of scales and found some good ones, but what struck me was a statement that I’d heard variations of many times before. It was a caution for new guitar players to slow down and get each note right before trying to speed up.
I realized I was unconsciously trying to hurry through my practice, I suppose just so I could tell myself I’d done it. The problem with this was that I wasn’t focusing on the basics. I wasn’t being as careful and attentive as I should have been to the sound and feel of the notes. The instructor from that site warned readers that bad habits would be picked up by going too fast too soon.
If it’s not obvious, it made me think of how this can affect other parts of our lives. Anything we attempt to learn can be adversely affected by not taking enough time to master the basics first. Sometimes we just need to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus completely on what we’re doing.
Probably the worst bad habit of all for accomplishing things is that of being sloppy and not paying attention to detail. These are the bad habits I was reinforcing in my guitar playing before I forced myself to slow down and do it right. Things went much more smoothly after that.
I’m sure most of my readers have heard the saying, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” I think this is a good way to approach life and everything we do. If we take the time to do something, we should really put ourselves into it, not thinking of everything else we have to do or what we’d like to do next. The benefit of this is that we’ll do our best and, quite possibly, get it done better and in less time.