Baby Steps

We are a society that loves to jump ahead. We move on rapidly from one thing to the other without mastering what we probably should have. Even our movies are famous for the montage scene in which the novice moves from not knowing one end of the sword from the other to mastery, all in the thirty-second montage of clips.
Basic, beginner, simple or elementary are terms that are sometimes used to describe entry-level techniques. We don’t like them. We all want to be masters without doing the simple stuff. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, woodcarving, or playing the guitar.

I met a guy the other week doing fantastics riffs. He fumbled when asked to chord a simple song in the key of E. He seemed interested in fancy solos but had never learned any basic progressions. All he knew were riffs and solos. He was great at that, but play a song? No.

I found out teaching woodcarving that one way to avoid this is to strongly communicate to students that these basics are the secrets of the masters. Your first tremulous efforts at playing a simple song, or carving a small chip carving are foundations for much greater things.

There is no rush to greatness; we must first build a firm foundation for mastery.

3 Replies to “Baby Steps”

  1. ‘There is no rush to greatness’–before I retired our company began hiring much younger people and creating these job titles that had many of us scratching our heads. Was the title to give a sense of importance or mastery of the position? Many a more senior person quit because they thought it made a mockery of the job. I retired on my own terms, but the workforce has become a strange place.

    1. I still work full time, but at a place that allows me freedom and dignity. Freedom and dignity is just not that common in the place. But pertinent to your comment, fancy titles are cheap, but actual wages are not.

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