An Exercise in Commitment, Part 7

Read part one of this series here.

Hello, its me.

I went on a hike this past weekend. Needed a photo for this post — this photo has nothing to do with my post.

As some of you noticed — which warms my heart because it means some people are actually reading these posts — I didn’t make a post 2 weeks ago.

The last 4 weeks have been a little bit difficult, and I have been preoccupied with some other stuff. Since it is not relevant to my goals, I am not going to discuss it here. However, my preoccupation is under control for the most part now, and while I will still be a bit overbooked for the next two weeks, all should be well moving forward.

I find it interesting to note what part of your schedule goes away during times of pressure or business, it is usually quite telling of their values and priorities. For some it is exercise, for others eating. When I am faced with stress, I tend to follow a weird pattern. I exercise more and eat better — but sacrifice whatever my work is, whether that be schoolwork, or a job.

It is interesting to note that in this case, the work that I neglected was my personal challenge. I began to see juggling as a chore, rather than as a fun activity, and the same applied to the other skills I was pursuing.

Of course, I can’t say I’m surprised that I’m experiencing this burnout. The challenge was structured in a way that would lead to this difficulty, and part of my goal was to learn how to overcome it. So I guess that’s the stage I’m currently at.

My solution so far has been to ease up on the intensity. For initial skill development, I had forced myself to practice 15 minutes every day. This worked quite nicely for developing my juggling ability. However, after basic competency is developed, forcing this intensity of practice just makes it difficult. Rather than enjoying my newfound ability to juggle, I have been seeing it as a burden, or a task that I MUST do, in order to be productive.

My approach to juggling is therefore to reduce intensity, treating it more as a relaxing activity. I have set my sights on trying to develop my 3-ball juggling skills further, rather than trying to move to the 4-ball juggle (which I am realizing requires a very different skill set). My focus has been on tricks. The coolest one I’ve come across is the Mills Mess, but getting to that point is a pipe dream at the moment.

The skill that I will be focusing most intensely on now, is the Harmonica. While I will be easing up on juggling to prevent burnout, I still think intense, dedicated practice over time is required for initial confidence and foundation development. I am meeting with a friend this week to discuss basic music theory, and have been watching videos about basic harmonica theory as a primer. My music background is not impressive (Alto Sax player from grade 6–9), and so I will have to build up many skills again.

My approach to the harmonica is to simultaneously develop an understanding of basic music theory (very basic), in combination with the motor skills required to play harmonica. I have begun by practicing my “puckering” breathing technique, and learning about the basic scales of the harmonica.

Other than that, I am trying to keep up on my Spanish, practicing roughly 3x a week. I am also focusing heavily on bicep development at the gym to peripherally improve my one-armed chin-up. Squash has not really been happening, but I’m ok with that.

Thanks for reading this post, it was structured a little bit differently than usual and so I apologize if it was difficult to read.