Day 56 - A picture of something that makes you happy.
I thought about this thing for a while and what I finally decided to go with it small victories. You might remember I alluded to this a little bit on day 12 (something you love) when I talked about how I loved the feeling of learning. What I mean more specifically though this time is an actual victory over something. Not a real big thing though. Although I obviously appreciate and enjoy big victories, in a way the little ones make me more happy. I guess that's because really almost every big victory is made up of several little ones. Also, in smaller victories, the change between being in a place of frustration and confusion to a place of understanding and success is much more immediate and so the contrast makes it seem that much better.
You guys probably already know what I'm talking about, but just to clarify I guess I'll give you an example or so. I remember last year in my math class we were starting some new subject thing and we had been working on it for a few days. I was honestly trying to pay attention in class but I just didn't understand what was going on. I kept telling myself, "Oh, well, you just need to see more examples and then you'll get it." and similar types of nonsense, and of course being my typical self I was too proud to ask someone for clarification or to stay after and ask the teacher for help. I just kept telling myself that it really didn't matter, I would get it when I looked at it later. It figures then that was the night that we had like 40 homework problems all using this concept that I didn't understand and you know math, you always build on what you've already learned, so if you don't get the first thing, you're in a world of hurt.
Well, I got home that day and eventually decided to pull out the math. I'm sure you're not surprised that I still didn't understand it. I must have studies that stupid book for over an hour. I read the entire chapter, poured over every example problem, and tried to work out every even problem (Since the answers were in the back so I would know if I was doing it right). After tireless work with no success, I finally got to the point where I was just so angry and frustrated that I picked up my book and threw it across the room.
Eventually, since aside from being far to proud I'm also way to stubborn ( I blame genetics. My great grandfather once had a heart attack on a plane but didn't say anything and just toughed it out until he was off the flight) and refused to let myself give up, I picked up my book, cleared my mind, prayed for understanding, and decided to try again. It didn't come right away, but after a little while something just clicked and I got it. I was able to do all 40 or whatever problems and even got almost all of them right.
Ok, this post is already way, way too long but I'm in a talkative mood so here's another good example I just thought of. When I first got my guitar in December, I at first had trouble figuring it out. I guess that's pretty normal, I mean it is a new instrument that I had no idea how it play. I wasn't expecting to be able to just pick it up and play something like magic or anything like that, but I was just having more trouble understanding it than I anticipated. I kept trying chords,scales, easy songs, and different stuff for beginners but nothing seemed to work out right. It never sounded right. In this case I wasn't angry or frustrated like I was with my math work, just disappointed I guess that I couldn't get it. Then I eventually decided to try tab and so I got a tab version of "Blackbird". I sat down to try and play it. I played the first note and it sounded exactly like it should. I was ecstatic. The tried to play through the rest of the song, and I did eh, ok, but it didn't matter to me anymore because that first note was perfect and if one note could be perfect I knew eventually that they all would be.
It's silly really when you think about it. One College Algebra math concept and one note on the guitar in a song for beginners? In the grand scheme of things, and even in the grand scheme of my own life these aren't things that are important or significant. No one is going to look back and list "understood College Algebra" or "Learned to play 'Blackbird'" in my list of great and wonderful accomplishments. So then why should those things matter? To you they might not, but to me they do. Because these little thing, these small, insignificant, unimportant victories continue to prove to me time and time again that although it may take work and sweat, frustration and tears, and most certainly it may take time, nothing you long to accomplish is ever truly out of reach and nothing you strive to achieve is ever actually impossible.