Do you enjoy things you aren’t good at doing?
I don’t, either.
When I went to college for music, I remember taking a class called Sight-Singing. I’m not making this up, it’s a real class, and a required course for music majors. It was designed to teach you how to learn a song you had never heard before by helping you hear each part as it should be played. It’s the same concept as learning new words by sounding them out.
I was great at hearing the parts of songs in my head—though sometimes they did get drowned out by the voices—and could pick most of them out on a piano or guitar without a lot of difficulty. But this class forced me to do something I couldn’t do well at all.
Now, you can imagine that if a class is called Sight-Singing, then singing will eventually come into play. It did, and it didn’t take long.
On my first day of Sight-Singing 101, the instructor called on me to sing the melody line of a random piece of music. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but I gave it my best shot.
What came out of my mouth sounded a lot like this.
I guess it goes without saying, but everyone got a good laugh at my expense. I was such a hit that at the next class session, a few folks were still cracking up at my performance from two days earlier.
I hated that class, and didn’t think it was fair to grade me on singing when I wasn’t going to school to be a singer. Of course, I never understood why I had to take algebra in high school, either.
Singing isn’t the only thing I can’t do well. The list of “Things I’m Not Good At” is a lot longer than I would like it to be, and though I have tried and tried, I have come to the conclusion that I wasn’t born to do just any-old thing I want to do.
At least, not well.
Eventually, you’re going to have to do something you aren’t good at, but you won’t be able to avoid it. To make matters worse, it will probably be difficult, uncomfortable, and in some cases, humiliating.
We all have limitations, but hard work is often the difference between average and excellent.
Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that until later in life. I wanted everything to come naturally—which means easy—and got discouraged when it didn’t. I wish I had been reading my Bible back then. A verse like this one would have helped me a lot:
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” (Proverbs 13:4, NLT)
Natural ability will only take you so far. If you really want to be better than average—or great—at something, you’re going to have to work hard.
In my case, natural ability didn’t get me past the first day of class. I never wanted to work at sight-singing, so I never tried to get better.
I can promise you that everyone else in my class would have appreciated it if I had.