I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do

Posted: September 22, 2013 by Nerdy Woman in Perspectives
Tags: , , , , ,

When I was 8 years old, I told my mom I wanted to play the piano. She would say she was never an accomplished pianist, but to me, she had an amazing talent. I’d watch her fingers fly across the keyboard and hear music, wonderful music. I wanted to be able to do that.

Mom immediately signed me up for piano lessons. Since she worked, I had to walk to the piano teacher’s house. It seemed like a very long distance, but was probably only 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile away. Back then, parents didn’t worry about children being snatched off the street by strangers.

I kept up the lessons for a few weeks, but was frustrated. The finger positioning drills, the basic scales, learning music notation… that wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted to make music like my mother did. Some years later, I realized the problem was that I wanted to play the piano, not learn to play the piano.

There are many talents which I wish I possessed without the baby steps needed to improve. I wish I could draw and paint. I even took drawing class in college, but the result did not reveal any innate talent. It’s something I should have continued to struggle through.

Both Nerdy Girl and I are perfectionists. We have a picture in our mind’s eye of how something should be. When our efforts are less than perfect, there is frustration and disappointment.

And yet… I sew. I can make beautiful things with fabric. When someone admires the skill (remember skill is learned, talent is a gift), I tell them they can do it, but must decide from the start that the first five garments they make will never be worn in public. They are practice pieces. Ill-fitting and imperfect.

In the end, we should all do what we love. I wouldn’t call myself a talented writer, but I love to write. Does my writing improve with practice? Maybe. Maybe not. I love to sing. That I know is not one my talents, but I do it for myself. And perhaps that is the best reason to do anything, perfect or not.

Submitted to: The Daily Post http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/daily-prompt-talent/

  1. […] I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do | Nerdy Woman […]

  2. shreyapunj says:

    The title, amazingly well put.
    I loved your post. It is exactly how I felt. Not learn, just DO.

  3. […] I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do | Nerdy Woman […]

  4. […] There’s websites that give crash courses in drawing. But it’s not something I want to learn. It’s something I want to do. […]

    • Nerdy Woman says:

      I can soooo appreciate that sentiment.

      My daughter, Nerdy Girl, wants to draw. But she doesn’t want to copy an image created by someone else (something which can be found in most drawing instruction books/websites). She wants to create something her own, something as perfect as it already is in her mind.

  5. Jorge says:

    Very nice! 🙂 I must say I’m perfectionist too, and I hate the great majority of what I make! I guess it’s something we’ve got to live with. Greetings!

  6. houseofewes says:

    I love how you made the distinction between wanting to do something and wanting to learn to do something. I too am a perfectionist. I want to do it now, and beautifully!

  7. Frances D says:

    I’m singing along with my favorite You Tubes right now. I sound just awful – don’t care – I’m having a ball. Waving at you from Cape Cod.

  8. What a wonderful post. I love the title. I, too, have always wanted to learn to play the piano. Never did but I would still love to. I had signed up my daughter to learn and (in my opinion) she was very good. She never liked practicing though and got frustrated easily. My younger son is somewhat in the “I want to do” category. I shudder when the time comes when he wants to learn to drive.

    • Nerdy Woman says:

      Thank you so much for the compliment! I hadn’t even thought of how the perfectionism will affect Nerdy Girl’s driving; we can’t afford driving lessons just yet.

      Thank you for taking the time to read me.

  9. […] I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do | Nerdy Woman […]

  10. […] I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do | Nerdy Woman […]

  11. […] I Don’t Want to Learn, I Want to Do | Nerdy Woman […]

  12. nrhatch says:

    Yes! Awesome post. When we enjoy the journey, the destination is not the point. It is in becoming that we live!

  13. Sahm King says:

    Now…that’s a good lesson: “That I know is not one my talents, but I do it for myself. And perhaps that is the best reason to do anything, perfect or not.”

    Nicely written, nicely said.

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