When Practice Meets Opportunity, Magic Happens
"Ah I've been learning and practising and it feels so futile! I really don't want to learn to play the piano anymore. What's the point anyway?", she complained over the phone as she went on "there'll never be a time when I will think I'm actually proficient, it's just so time consuming and I don't even know why I'm learning this anymore".
A year ago at the start of the lockdown, she started learning to play the piano. And as the usual pattern of picking up a new hobby goes, her enthusiasm shot up the day she decided she would learn to play, skyrocketing with every day she had to wait, until finally peaking on the day it was delivered to her house. Then came the heavy sinking feeling the moment she put on a YouTube tutorial and tried to follow along. She whispered under her breath with her motivation crumbling, "man, this is actually very hard".
"Okay, picture this", I started to respond. "The lockdown is finally over and you're on the Europe trip you've been planning forever. Walking down the streets of Sicily, it's a sunny day out and you see a group of street musicians. Now, they look around and ask people in the audience if someone would like to play a song with them. And you, having practised all lockdown step forward. And from there on, only cool things will come through - you never know, someone in the audience later reaches out and says that was really cool of you and that you play really well. Later that evening, you go out to a party his group invites you to, and you have the time of your life", I said painting a story, as she gruntingly responded with a barely audible "hmm". "All this because you spent hundreds of hours working towards becoming a better pianist, without knowing what you were really working towards".
In that moment I realised I told her the exact same thing my parents brought me up with. Hard work never goes wasted. You might not see where it'll be useful, you might lose sight of the big picture along the way; keep working hard anyway. There'll come a time when you'll look back, and in hindsight you'll connect all the dots and it'll all make sense.
There is no better example than this guy who would've practised god knows how many times without knowing he would have this opportunity. This is for sure one of my favourite videos - more so because this happened in Munich where I currently live, and I love Coldplay, and everything just fits. And his hard work meeting this opportunity makes me really happy!