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Flywheel Mindset – I Now See How Perseverance is Needed for Everything We Want to Do Well

Every musician knows that learning an instrument is a labour of love. The hours of repetitive, frustrating, mediocre practice are infrequently rewarded by moments of getting it right. I imagine it’s a lot like catching the ‘perfect wave’ in surfing. I love playing the piano and singing and it’s the best feeling to hit that glorious note or play the piece right through without mistakes.

I fundamentally accept that when I learn a difficult new piano piece that there are months ahead of frustrating and soul destroying practice where I feel like I will never get it right. I am prepared for this because I know that on the day I ‘catch the wave’ it will all be worth it. I know this because I have experienced it before.

Recently, I have started to see my martial arts practice the same way. Like learning a new piece on the piano, moving through the Taekwondo syllabus is challenging, difficult and requires endless attention to detail and a myriad of frustrating moments where I again feel like I will never get it right. The difference is that it’s only recently that I have started to view Taekwondo with the same calm and determined mindset I use for music.

At the keyboard, I accept that the price of effortless flow is hours of practice. For some reason, until recently I had not thought about martial arts this way. I guess in my mind I assumed that because it appears more simple that it doesn’t require the same level of detail. This is in no way correct and I guess its more like watching two dancers perform the same choreography. Both can do all the same moves but its always the subtle attention to detail that will draw your eye to the true master.

The more I persevere, the more I realize how more work is required to achieve a result where I can get into ‘the flow state’ where everything feels and looks right.

This understanding has enhanced my view on the understanding the Flywheel effect. When we push the Flywheel towards the goal we understand that it takes time to build momentum. The initial feeling around this is one of patience, keep pushing and over time results will come. The inference here is that it will take a lot of time to get there. What isn’t necessarily implied is the mental state that is required to not only be patient but to accept the level of detail and frustratingly slow progress that comes with incremental growth.

Now everyone is different and approaches these challenges from a different mindset. I personally am not someone who is comfortable in a space of detailed repetition. As a Myers Briggs INFJ personality type my least comfortable space is in Extroverted Sensing.

However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the benefit of living in the present moment and working on something diligently for a longer term reward. When I start to really focus on the task at hand, I get a lot of satisfaction. The challenge has been to choose to focus on the detail patiently, without giving up and moving onto the next shiny thing.

In the end, it’s only through perseverance that we have any chance of reaching the ultimate flow state where we are consistently performing well and getting to enjoy the fruits of our hard won labor.


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