Let’s face it, you put in a lot of work improving your bagpiping. Like most serious pipers, sustaining that effort of work, practice, learning, etc. takes its toll. Sometimes your progress might feel like it’s slowed to a crawl, or stopped altogether. You might have a moment where you feel like putting the pipes in the box forever and giving up on this whole bagpipe thing.
Don’t do that!
The truth is, everyone has had this moment at least once. The longer you play bagpipes and the more you accomplish, the more times you will experience it! Anything of consequence requires dedication and can be difficult at times. There will always be times you feel like quitting—in anything you do.
The next time you feel the urge to toss the pipes into the fireplace and give up, use the following tips to refocus your thinking and stick to it.
Focus on what you’ve accomplished.
All one has to do is to look at the before and after photos of someone who been working out for a year. The difference is remarkable. If you’ve experienced this, you’ll know that you don’t actually notice the change as it’s happening. You notice it when you make the comparison.
The next time you experience an obstacle or roadblock in your piping, don’t focus on what you can’t do. Instead, think about where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Think about the work that got you there and the results you’ve achieved. Recreate that and keep moving forward.
Run your own race.
Making comparisons is a very human quality. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, particularly when our efforts are creative or unconventional and count on continued progress. Doing this may make you want to break your practice chanter over your knee and call it quits. But this in truth only make us miserable. The reality in anything is that there are always folks who have run the race before you and have plotted their own course. But it’s their course. You’ve chosen to learn bagpipes for your own reasons and your path is unique to you. There are no hard and fast standards to how fast progress moves. Ignore what everyone else is doing and run the race at our own pace.
Stop beating yourself up over the difficulty you face and how long it takes to make progress. Things take time. Creative efforts like learning a musical instrument are slow to show their fruits. Impatience is your greatest enemy. Fight the urge to take shortcuts and skip steps. Tamp down the frustration you feel when progress doesn’t move fast enough. Even when things are going well, you may have to force yourself to calm down. It’s all good. Be patient.
Understand the pain of regret is worse than the pain of effort.
Whatever pain or discomfort you feel in the effort to reach your bagpiping goals will pale in comparison to the heartache of constant regret if you give it up. Think of the reasons you picked up learning bagpipes in the first place and rekindle that passionate desire. Think about how much you want to play and keep at it. You will be forever sorry looking back and facing giving up on something you truly wanted and always thinking “what if.”