The Piano Lesson

A childhood memory of sitting at the piano, practicing my daily lesson flashed into my mind as I heard my daughter pounding the piano keys in frustration. “I can’t play this. It is too difficult” she protested. I immediately sensed the frustration I must have given my mother when I complained about having to practice the piano when all of my friends were already playing outside.

I took a deep breath and I patiently reminded my daughter to slow down and practice playing smaller sections of the piece. Little by little the song began to take shape. With daily practice her fingers got stronger and finally she was able to play the piece perfectly. The reward for both of us was the happy expression on her face. It was difficult, but she did it!

Of course the cycle repeated itself with the next song, but gradually she realized that with practice, she could do it. She also realized that the piece she once thought was difficult was now very easy to play. This realization also gave her confidence in other areas of her life.

I wish as adults we could have a parent or teacher remind us to slow down and break our lives into smaller pieces. Sometimes we get overwhelmed trying to accomplish everything all at once. We want to be able to play the complicated piece on the piano without having to put in the effort to make it happen. Then, we get frustrated because we can’t play the piece as well as everyone else.

When we concentrate so much on what we want to accomplish in the future, we miss seeing the amazing progress we have already made along the way. Instead of being proud of what we have achieved, we focus on the many things we have not been able to do. Instead of seeing the positive, we focus on the negative. We become frustrated.

Frustration comes from many different areas. They may include career goals and being dissatisfied with your position within a company. You may be frustrated with your health and your inability to lose those extra ten pounds. You may feel overwhelmed trying to work, raise a family and still find time for yourself. There doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything. You may feel like giving up.

Do you remember what it was like when you were learning to ride a bicycle? Did you give up because it was too difficult or did you practice every day? Most likely, you practiced every day and little by little you became comfortable riding the bike. Even today, if you have not ridden a bike for a long time, it is easy to jump back on and take off down the street. The first time wasn't that easy.

Give yourself a break. Pay attention to the amazing things you have done in your life. Divide projects into smaller, more realistic segments. Celebrate your achievements along the way. Focus on the positive. You can do it! Make time for chocolate.