I spend a lot of my free time learning an instrument (violin) that I will never master.
I will never make any money from it.
In fact research tells me that I have no hope of ever truly mastering the violin that takes up at least two hours if not 8+ hours of my week.
Why do I do that? What is the point?
I do it because I love it. I love music. I love the challenge. I love escaping to a world that is far removed from my day-to-day existence.
Despite my music love, I went through a little spell where I was struggling to enjoy the violin. Maybe I just wasn’t as enthused with the violin? At a recent lesson my teacher had a different idea: I wasn’t playing music.
I’m learning a gorgeous Mozart concerto (No. 4, check out Hillary Hahn playing it here
and note I’m nowhere near that good) but instead of playing music I was focused on intonation and getting the notes exactly right. I had turned something that was previously enjoyable into something that was a task…who wants to do that when they get home from work?
I see the same thing at workplaces that vary from retail stores to corporate America. Some people put their own spin on their work, such as the flight attendant who laughs and tells jokes…but it’s not an act. I would bet that flight attendant is the same funny person when they are off the clock as well. Some people add a bit of themselves to their work and people appreciate that.
Unfortunately I also see people that approach their work from a transactional view. They are so focused on being right or “flawlessly executing” that they don’t take the time to be creative, or challenge themselves.
I wonder where that comes from? Has past experience made them scared to be creative? Are they so afraid of making a mistake that they do not feel comfortable being themselves?
Life is too short for that. I want to challenge you today to stop what you are doing and think about why you are doing it. When people see your work or interact with you does it have your stamp? Is it you? Or could it have come from any cog in the machine? If its rote, plain and could be done by anyone why are you doing it?
Special thank you to Victorio Milian (check out his blog here) for his assistance with this post. Without his help, this post would be in the blog post garbage heap!