Thursday, January 24, 2013

"chop wood, carry water...."

“There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” ― Will Rogers
     Learning anything for the first time is intimidating. Initially, we may read the subject, then observe others but ultimately we learn by doing. Life is learning. Failure is not an option? Failure is always an option if you want to grow and continue to evolve. But I do get apprehensive. Nothing reminds me more that I am a cocker spaniel of the human race than when venturing and exploring beyond the invisible fence of my comfort zone. Cocker spaniels are happy, loving, gentle and sweet dogs but are especially sensitive to loud noises, raised voices and harsh training methods. They are also prone to excessive urination when excited. That may or may not be me. An early introduction to personal self-discipline was developed after serving four unrelenting years in high school marching band.(actually, I loved it!) When I felt irritated or rebellious though the purple beret came off before a performance. You want me to walk five miles in the sweltering heat of an August afternoon with this thirty pound drum strapped to my chest, Captain Band Director? Look who's not wearing the regulation hat....Sir! Who's in charge now?

   Self-discipline is a challenge. When being instructed and I sense another individuals impatience my sensitivity slowly escalates from whimper to growl. Not everyone trains or learns effectively in the same manner or at the same pace. Quiet calm is my prefered learning atmosphere. Having no desire to be alpha dog, there is minimal bark and I only bite when attacked. However, if you train me properly and toss me treats you will win my trust, loyalty and I might just lick your face. Enthusiasm, curiosity and a love of learning can be all but crated and caged without the proper teacher. Patience with numerous questions, endless repetition and understanding on the part of an instructor is priceless. There is an uneasy, nervous excitement when facing a new challenge. No matter how much you want to control time and effort , you can't be an expert unless you are a student first. Study and practice, practice, practice. If you dream of playing timpani with the symphony you begin with the triangle. (Ask, Ed Grimley.) If you want to run with the big dogs you have to jump off those comfy cushions.

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