I’m self-taught to juggle, yo-yo, perform magic tricks and now I’m learning the guitar.
I’m far from accomplished in any of these, yet I’ve reached a stage where I’m happy to move onto the next challenge. Once I’ve learnt how to juggle or play a song on a guitar, what do I do with the skill? Apart from attempting to entertain family and friends, not much. So why do I continue to learn new skills?
Well, I’d be lost if I didn’t!
Learning these skills helps me in two ways…
1 – It’s a challenge!
I love overcoming any sort of challenge, and these skills are perfect for that. Take juggling, until you can juggle, every attempt ends as a failure – you drop the balls. It took time and lots and lots and lots of practice, but once it clicked, juggling became second nature. Once the act of juggling essentially became unconscious, being completed through muscle memory, it was time for the next challenge.
I hate to leave something incomplete. I hate not giving something 100%. So when a yo-yo flies out my hand and breaks on the ground, I instantly go on amazon and buy a replacement. I have to learn how to complete the basics, I enjoy not getting it right because I know eventually I will. These skills take time, not some raw talent that only a select few have.
2 – It gives me a break!
This part might sound a little contradictory…
I love learning new skills because they test and push me. They make me not want to quit when failing. That can be pretty tough mentally, I can’t tell you have much will power it takes to build up the finger dexterity to perform one handed card cuts in magic (not actually that much).
So how can they give me a break? Well, it’s a different mental challenge from anything else I might be doing. It’s a bit like working out, it’s not easy but it can reenergise you, give you a break from working. What I love about these skills though, is that a break only needs to last maybe 10 minutes. Close my laptop, pick up my guitar, fail to play Hozier’s song Cherry Wine, put down guitar, pick up laptop and carry on. Sometimes there is nothing I enjoy more, it’s fun, it’s silly, it doesn’t really mean anything or matter whether I do it well or not and so it lets me refresh my mind.
So when you next feel stressed or bored, pick up three tennis balls and have a go at juggling, just don’t stand next to anything valuable!!