The other side of boredom

Say you are learning to play a favourite song on a guitar.

The first few sessions are interesting – you figure out the right chords and their rhythm. Soon enough, you enjoy the thrill of humming the song while strumming its chords.

At some point, you can play the chords without even having to think about their sequence. You have also played this song 20-30 times by now, and boredom starts to set in. This is the point where most people move onto the next song.

Instead, what if you persisted? What if you continued playing the same song a 100 or 200 times?

Despite so much repetition, there are ways to keep things interesting. Use a metronome in the background. Play the song at half its original tempo, and then twice its original tempo. Tweak the strumming pattern or substitute a chord or two.

At an unconscious level each repetition of the same song teaches you something new and makes you a better guitar player overall. When the notes remains the same, your brain, your fingers and your muscles can direct all their attention towards depth.

On the other side of boredom lies mastery. This is true of any discipline (and also why we call them ‘disciplines’).

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