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People are made up of contradictions. It’s the spice of life.

If everyone was a straight shooter, interacting would be boring as hell. I love nothing more than talking to some boring banker, and seeing his eyes light up when rugby gets into the conversation (Actually, this is a great tip in itself). Everyone in the office may hate that food stealing b**** Katy, but they’ll still go out of their way to help when she runs for charity. And every guy wants to be in the club when the buttoned-down librarian hits the town for her saturday night blowout!

My point is this: Everyone has an exception, and here’s mine.

I’m incredibly lazy about 99% percent of my life, but once i start practicing piano you won’t hear from me again.

I started taking piano lessons last year, and I really loved it. There are times when I can put away four hours in concentrated, efficient practice. I’ve been involved in music all my life and every time I feel a song or a technique coming together my world gets brighter. The weird thing is, I’ve learned instruments before. The drums lasted about two weeks (Thank God i never bought the kit!). My guitar playing has slowly but surely increased over a period of five years, in which I’ve managed to completely master chords and a dab of fingerpicking.

So what was different this time? I’m not really sure. The strange thing is I really do like playing guitar. I just have a love of simple guitar songs. Ergo, no push to get better. But my love of piano stretches to the truly impossible. Therefore I need to get better, even if I’m relegated to failing at Final Fantasy songs right now (Thats ok too!).

I can also remember when I put in that first four-hour shift. My piano teacher old me I was one of her quickest learners, behind just three or four people. Did I mention how naturally competitive I am? After one month of lessons, I completely memorised and absorbed Beethoven’s ‘Moonlit Sonata’ in one week. It’s still the only song I can play really well.

My point is simple.

  1. Pick something you love. The harder the better, the cheaper the better. Go at it non stop¬† (don’t snigger!). And when you start to get tired and it feels like work, don’t just give up! Remind yourself why you love it in the first place, picture the goal, or go at it from a different angle. But always focus on the doing.
  2. Give yourself goals and deadlines. Weekly lessons meant I only had seven days to wow my teacher.
  3. Get competitive!
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This idea has been around for while, but i think it’s first big coverage was in Effective Time Management, by Brian Tracy. There are some pretty good explanations online but I’ll try to summarise it quickly.

The basic premise is, you write-up a to-do list, and then rate your items in terms of their importance. An item you rate as ‘A’ has dire consequences for not completing it. A ‘B’ has consequences but is not as urgent as ‘A’, and so on. Anything¬† rated ‘D’ or ‘E’ should be passed off to someone else, or eliminated entirely. Some people claim this method changed their life.

I tried it out for a week, in terms of organising myself and my goals.

The first thing I found was that this method definitely does not work with a huge to-do list. As advised by Tim Ferriss in 4HWW, eliminate first. This can be tough to get the hang of, but you have to be ruthless. I started out with to-do lists 15 items long, with several A’s, and it got me no-where.

Eventually I became better at organising my list ( It doesn’t take long btw, and should ideally save you time in the long run). However I still feel this method wasn’t very effective for me. It was just to easy for my natural laziness to take over, and for me to ignore the list and its prioritisation. Also, sometimes the importance of items changed in ‘real time’, and i didn’t want to be going back to the list all the time, changing and updating.

In the end this experiment was a failure. The ABCDE Method can probably be incredibly effective for someone with motivation, but it just didn’t work for me.

Next week I’ll update on my adventures with what I’ve dubbed ‘The ‘Ten Minute Miracle’ Method.

Read and Get Smart

Purpose:

Get moving
Get excercising
Get writing
Get singing
Get dancing
Get living

CONSTRAINTS ARE IN THE MIND!