I thought of something today that I haven’t thought of for a while.
Sometimes just starting something–anything, really–is the hardest part. I’m an avid weight-lifter and fitness participant, and many times this statement holds true there. For instance, some days I am not motivated to go to the gym at all. I love lifting, and I love bettering myself in the gym, but some days it’s not there from the beginning. However, once I’m there, it can be one of my best training sessions of the week.
Similarly, practicing consistently is hard. Especially to put in the kind of time each day to prepare for various performances. Often times, the passion is not there; sometimes the passion is merely hiding behind a mask of laziness or aversion. But as soon as the guitar is the hands, the passion returns, and the practice session takes off.
The real place this “just starting” idea comes into play, though, is on stage. Recitals or performances in general are intimidating and sometimes terrifying experience. I’ve written about Performance Anxiety before, and will again. One of the best tips I ever received about performing was to start with a piece that’s very comfortable. The first notes are often the hardest: they’re the culmination of nervousness that might have started weeks ago and they are the first sounds that have to played through the adrenaline rush that is performance. After those first few minutes, however, a performer settles in and it begins to feel comfortable. Just starting is the hardest part.
So what do we do about this?! I have a pretty simple solution for myself: I don’t think about it. I just start. I don’t think about how long it’s going to take; I don’t think about how I dread it. I just start the path. Some days I’ll use the, “let’s get this out of the way” trick and look at it as a step to something else. To use an oft quoted phrase:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”