Thursday, January 24, 2013


When I retired I gave myself two promises - that I would get to work out as much as I wanted, and that I would make time to practice the hammered dulcimer. These two activities give me a massive dose of satisfaction.

Somehow I have managed to keep myself motivated - and have reaped the satisfaction that has come with seeing my body transformed into a more fit, more functional tool. And my hammered dulcimer playing continues to progress - I LOVE TO PLAY.

One of the things that both of these activities have given me is the chance to share my passion with others. Which means also somehow sharing the motivation.

One of the ladies at the gym, mid-20's, fit, but also focused on getting more fit. She has gone from being able to do push-ups to being able to do push-ups with her hands on one basketball, her feet on another basketball. An oh-my-lord achievement. Another lady - in her 60's, has gone from doing a few push-ups with her knees on the floor to doing push-ups with her hands in gymnasts rings and her feet balanced on a basketball.

Somehow these two ladies motivate themselves to keep on pushing - keep on improving - and I am lucky enough to be able to perhaps help in a small way with my enthusiasm.

But, the real reason I wanted to jot this quick post was a chat with the lady I am teaching to play the hammered dulcimer. I don’t charge much for lessons because honestly I love teaching someone who wants to learn. But, this morning she commented that she almost thinks that the low cost of the lessons has made her work harder to succeed. She realizes that I teach her because I love to see the progress she makes - and she doesn’t want to disappoint. She commented that, if she paid more she could use the excuse when she didn’t practice that it was ok - since she was paying me. But, paying little she wants to make sure she lives up to my expectations.

She has made absolutely amazing progress over the last year. And she practices religiously.

Reality is I would not teach her if she did not make good progress - teaching music lessons really is a labor of love for music. But, seeing her progress is fantastic recompense.

One more short story and I will get to working on a clock mechanism that is calling to me. Was once sent to a plant to look into a problem. I spent a couple of days getting a bit of background information, but mostly I tried to get to know the folk at the plant. Came back and my boss asked me lots of questions about the problem - most of which I could not answer. Which slightly aggravated him. OK, it REALLY AGGRAVATED HIM! I ended up needing to explain to him that I was approaching the problem in the way I believed would be most effective - reminding him that I tended to get things done, but had to include that caveat that he and I did things differently. This particular event occurred early in my time working for this gent - and resulted in our developing an effective relationship - one based on his expecting me to perform, and my meeting his expectations in my own way.

There are other stories I could relate about my meeting folks expectations - because they trusted that I could do what I said I would do.

The take-home messages from this rambling post?

Having high expectations for oneself can be personally motivating.

Having high expectations for others can change their world for the better!

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