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Billy Joel: “Piano Man”

piano keyboard with handsAs some of you may have heard me mention on other occasions, I learned to play the piano as a youngster on an old upright that still sits in my home and brings me joy. A few days ago, I was cleaning a bit in the room it calls home and noticed that it was gathering dust. That piano is full of music of all sorts, but in order for such strains to flow from it, fingers must strike the keys. Hopefully those fingers are somewhat trained, but the piano doesn’t require the player to practice. However, if I want to draw from it the beautiful melodies waiting to be heard, practice absolutely helps. So is the case in most of our pursuits. To achieve mastery or grasp the idea and apply it, we have to put out the effort.

I smiled as I lifted the cover of the keyboard as I recalled a time when one of my sons wasn’t making much of an effort in school and his grades were reflecting the fact. He had been grounded for his poor grades and one of his brothers was passing his room, where textbooks were scattered over the bed and my son was laying across them. His brother paused at the doorway, looked in and said, “Are you hoping to learn by osmosis?” That remark became a catchphrase in our family for not being willing to put in the effort needed to improve.

Mastery increases as effort is extended in almost every area of life. Whatever you would become better at doing requires you to intentionally focus on it and do the work required. Improvement doesn’t happen on its own. I must be intentional and put in the time and energy necessary. Sinking a three-pointer from outside the circle just doesn’t happen, even if you’re Larry Bird, who won the title three years in a row. Practice and repetition are required to sink the shot dependably. Lack of practice will see ability degrade.

Whatever my life’s focus may be, I always have the choice to improve and strengthen. Weight loss is no different. The desired results require effort on my part. As healthier eating, being more active, seeking support and staying positive increase, the results I desire manifest themselves more clearly. What I did to get me to where I am today may not be what I need to do to get me to where I wish to be tomorrow. I have some growing to do, and the choice to grow is mine to make.

So I think I’ll sit, stretch these stiff fingers, release Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” from the piano and allow my mind to plan the next, best step I need to make — and take it!

I Care, Barb

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