Monday Motivation: Something Small
“To be creative means to be in love with life.
You can be creative only if you love life enough
that you want to enhance its beauty,
you want to bring a little more music to it,
a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
What’s the one small thing that you could do today to keep your creativity flowing? Is it allowing yourself to dream, just a little, as you have your morning brew? Is it taking time to sketch out some ideas during your lunch break? Perhaps it’s singing along to your favourite song in the car. Or maybe it’s choosing yarn for a new project. Whatever it is, do it, and enjoy yourself as you do.
I was talking with some friends over the weekend about how we, as a society, need to stop regulating the chance to learn to just children and young people. The concept that you become “too old” to learn a musical instrument, “too old” to write a book, “too old” to get a degree or qualification. That kind of thinking is crap, and it’s designed to keep us small, keep us quiet, keep us obedient, and set in our ways and roles.
When I first started learning to read music, I was in my early 30s. I had fallen in love with the harp and begun to learn how to play via a hire-a-harp scheme run by Pilgrim Harps. But, whilst the geography of the instrument came easily to me, understanding the dots and lines on the page was hard. And there was a little voice inside my head telling me that I was “too old”, that I had “missed my chance”.
Because my harp tutor lived so far away (nearly a 100-mile round trip each time), she recommended that I find a tutor closer to home with whom I could study music theory. Enter D., my theory tutor.
D. was a piano teacher by trade and was, at the time, teaching children in local schools, with private students of all ages outside of school hours. When I called her and explained that I just wanted to learn musical theory, she was open to teaching me, so I rolled up one day to start learning how to read music.
Already, that little voice inside my head was winning. I was becoming more and more convinced that I had missed my chance, that I was too old. That reading music would be difficult and something I would never master. When I admitted this to D., she calmly told me that anyone, at any age, could learn music if the desire was there. That it honestly wasn’t as hard as other people made it out to be — those other people being, of course, people who listened to, and believed, that little voice within.
I listened to D., and hoped she was right. She lead me through the foundational concepts of sheet music and encouraged me in learning the basics. Even those were scary to me — but D. had a magical way about her, a real talent for both music and teaching, that both put me at ease and made concepts easier to grasp. She reminded me that I am not a robot, that we all learn at our own pace and in our own way, and all of that was okay.
And after that first lesson, I came away feeling confident and determined. I now knew what a minim was and what it represented. I was beginning to understand the basics of time signatures. I understood the mathematics behind the notation system. And I had tips and tricks for remembering specific notes and their values. These were just little things, but they mattered. Most of all, though, I had an ace in my pocket: D., who never wavered in her belief in me and who encouraged me to do whatever I needed to, however small, to keep my creativity, learning, and motivation flowing.
More than that, though: over the eight years I knew her, whether she knew it or not, D. helped me hone my dreams for my coaching practice, and we became close friends. We actually ended up helping each other through many dreams and challenges, and encouraged each other with even the smallest of steps.
So, on this Monday: what one small thing could you do today to keep your creativity flowing? And how can I help?