Wanna do v. Needta do

My brother and I were chatting today.  Catching up on each others’ lives and sharing humorous stories of the recent past.  He then asked me how guitar playing is going.  I said not very well.  I am not as good as I want to be.  I have not learned the songs I want to learn.  I have not played as much as I want to play.  Etc. Etc.

“Well, I guess that’s why you’re a wanna be.”  he replied.

I am a wanna be guitar player.  If I really needed to play the guitar, I could.  If I had to play the guitar, I could.  But I don’t have to play the guitar.  I don’t need to play the guitar.  I want to play the guitar.  That is very different from having to change my two year old’s diaper.  That is very different from needing to work Monday through Friday.

I think we all have things we “wanna” do, but we usually end up doing things we have to or need to do.

At least that is what we tell ourselves.  How much time have I spent reading guitar blogs instead of practicing the guitar?  How many hours have I spent looking for cheap gear online instead of learning to play a song I want to learn?  I’m embarrassed to answer.

Yes, I did mow the lawn today.  I needed to do that.  I did the dishes tonight.  I needed to do that.  I bathed the kids.  They needed to be clean before going to bed.  I cleaned the garage.  Well, I actually wanted to do that…I cleared space on the workbench so I can start by next guitar build!

I also taught a fencing class this morning.  I wanted to do that.  I also went to a community garage sale at the county fair grounds.  I wanted to do that.  So I do a lot of things I want to do.  And I bet most of us do things we want to do.  But perhaps we are not properly prioritizing the things we want to do.  Perhaps we are doing the things we want to do in between the things we need and have to do, with no thought beyond the need and have to do.  Perhaps it is a simple fix.

Perhaps not.

But at least trying will give some improvement.  In one of my earliest entries on this blog I talked about getting wall hangers for my guitars so they were always out and playable.  That has been one way to make sure I can play when I want to play.

We are going to reorganize our home office space so it is easier to get to the things we have to, need to, and want to use.  Part of that will include guitar stuff.

So good luck to all of us as we try to better prioritize the things we want to do among all the things we have to and need to do.  And for those of you (all three people who read this blog) who have figured this out better than I have, any tips?

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8 thoughts on “Wanna do v. Needta do

  1. I think if you came up with an answer, it would make a million bucks. I always have this feeling that “the grass is always greener…” and if I just had x, y, and z, I would be more productive and be able to accomplish all those things I want to do. I rarely follow my own advice, and just start.

    The overwhelming availability of information is a detriment to the development of skills. We can spend years researching what we want to do, but being an expert isn’t just knowing the tool, it’s using the tool. It’s applying the tool and exploring the tool. I spend way too much time watching tutorials, and not enough time making things.

    I was recently forced to “do or die” so to speak at work. I was given a project I knew how to do theoretically, but I had to take my theoretic knowledge and actualize it. Now that I HAVE to do it, I am applying the skills I read about, and I find myself doing better than I ever have before.

    Maybe a secret is making a commitment that forces you to perform– not just a promise to yourself, but something where the stakes are high.

  2. I just read a previous post about how you haven’t done an open mic night. Do one. And invite a bunch of people ahead of time so you HAVE to learn and perform. Don’t rely on stuff you already know, but stretch yourself.

  3. This is a post I so relate to. I have so many “needs” (my children and tons of other stuff) that need to be taken care of that I just feel like I have no time to myself. But when I finally do get the time, like when they’re all in bed, all I want to do is doing something completely unproductive like watch TV or surf the net. It really bothers me. I don’t really have anything in my life that I’m super passionate about like you are with guitars, but at least I could be more productive like sew a dress for my girls or sew something for myself. Or organize. Or . . . I don’t know. Just something. It’s a huge struggle.

    • It is a huge struggle. And most of the time we’re all so exhausted we aren’t willing to fight it. And when we do schedule something or make a commitment, that becomes as big a drag as the stuff we are trying to get away from.

      Good luck

  4. I was hoping there would be lots of comments so I could figure out what to do with my life. 😉 I so wish I had the magic answer here. Let me know if you figure it out….

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