The hall was filled with at least a thousand people. The tickets were very expensive, and the patrons were heard bragging about how much they had to bribe the authorities to procure their seats. The hall lights dimmed suddenly, and the curtains were drawn. A solitary figure walked into the spotlight. Paying no heed to the crowd or the blinding light, he picked up his violin. A swift glance to the side, a momentary pause, a deep breath, and he started playing. Enthralled, that was the last moment most of them could remember the time.
The virtuoso ended his performance with a grand flourish and bowed, beaming to the audience. An attractive middle-aged women walked up to him backstage, all starry-eyed and requested him for an autograph. He humbly obliged.
“You were amazing tonight. I wish I could play the violin like you did. In fact, I would give my life to do it that well. How do you do it? ”
“Exactly. In fact, I just did what you said”, he said smiling and returned the signed napkin.
It takes years and years to hone a skill and master a profession. Hours of gruelling hard work, seasoned with healthy amounts of willpower and determination are the not-so-surprising ingredients.
The trouble with most of us is that we grew up watching too many movies. It isn’t surprising that our attention spans are gnat-sized. We can hardly sit through a 400-page book, even though we may have enjoyed the first few pages immensely; we read at a snail’s pace amidst checking all the Facebook notifications, and keeping up with the conversations in all the WhatsApp groups. We have seen so many movies where the protagonist; usually an underdog in the first half of the film, braves all odds to come out a true champion, beating the antagonist (who, for some reason, happens to be always of questionable moral character) in the last few minutes of the movie. They sure inspire us, they do. They say loud and clear that hard work makes anything achievable. There will be snippets of the hero working so hard- the classic he-runs-till-he-drops-braving-physical-limits and stretching of one’s comfort zone when challenged. I needn’t elaborate any further- most of us have had our doses of Karate Kid-s, Never Back Down-s and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag-s.
However, this is a problem. While the director is pressed to include the life and struggle of the star in a two-hour reel, he is bound to show the audience only things that are bound to be interesting. It’s all well and fine to speak hours about hard work, but an average movie-goer wouldn’t want to sit and watch an athlete run the same 200m lap over and over again – for say, three hours and god forbid, pay for it too. This easy exclusion is what stumps most of us when it comes to achieving stuff that we really care about.
There is a plateau that we come across while trying to surmount anything new. Anyone who has tried his hand at playing a musical instrument or sport will know what I’m referring to. There will be moments where you’ll feel that you’ve progressed in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, these short-lived instances will be followed by long durations when there will be no apparent growth. You’ll be stuck in a rut, and it is annoying. One might be putting in all that’s he is worth, but alas nothing would budge.
Unfortunately, there is no magic recipe to success. Perhaps there is, we haven’t found it yet just like extraterrestrial intelligence. Do share it if you find it someday. I am quite sure you won’t. You won’t find it and even if you do, you won’t share. Anyway, this was worth a try. You might have seen lazy lads buy “the get-rich-quick” schemes. And those fat gullible ladies are often duped by the “lose weight” plans. Well, you do lose some weight, may not be from your belly but from your wallet. The ugly truth is, you have to run for it. You might be amazed at the baffling success of Sunny Leone at Bollywood. But remember folks, she got screwed before making it big.
You ought to go through it and keep doing it, constantly taking in feedback- tweaking a little something here and a little something there- to move forward. Obviously this only applies to instances where you are sure that the end result is well worth it all. Is it entirely possible? Is it a sure shot? Yes, I believe it is. This is evident in cases where we simply must win. Take, for example, driving a motorised car. To be honest, when one starts out, the gear stick, the steering wheel, and the three pedals are all too much to handle simultaneously. Perhaps a century ago, most would have given up after a few half-hearted trials. However, today it is imperative that one knows to drive (there might be a difference of opinion here, but I think I will have a vast majority agreeing with me on this). So, it has become a societal necessity. Same goes for computer skills, abilities to communicate etc. Though these are, in essence, difficult to conquer initially, most of us persevere and though the degrees of proficiency and the time duration to master them may vary individually, a lot of us do get there. Why? Because we want to. Badly.
If we could summon at will this desire to excel at the things we set out to attain, there won’t be any need to look for shortcuts. Reason being that we’ll be too busy cruising down the hard, yet satisfactory roads to success.