As well as in my working life, where the challenges of building an IT business have always been clear and considerable – I have been getting involved with some major projects in my personal life – a couple of really big mountains to climb.
- Firstly I am now about 30,000 words into my first novel. As a newbie 30,000 seems to me to be a great many words – even though its only a third of the way there. Once you get to that kind of size, if you stop for a couple of weeks you have to re-read pretty much the whole thing just to remember what on earth is going on.
- Secondly I am learning Tango. Anyone who hasn’t tried would probably just think ‘So what – it’s a dance – just learn the steps.. ‘ or something similar. But in reality learning Tango as a beginner – especially for the guys, or “leaders” as we are somewhat ironically described as – is mind bogglingly difficult.
These kind of big project undertakings need different skills – a different level of dedication. Persistence. The ability to keep going when it gets tough, when you lose your confidence. The enthusiasm to keep finding the time, to keep practicing even when you don’t feel like it.
They also teach you about yourself – if you are writing or dancing Tango you are exploring your own character and thoughts – a humbling and fascinating process of self discovery. A process that is facilitated by the music, your partner, or by the creativity of the act itself.
Coincidentally I started them both at the same time – February – and so I am now celebrating 6 months of trying. 6 months of not giving up, of having faith, of trying to keep positive and enjoy all the learning experiences that these kinds of undertakings always confront you with.
The challenge now is to start the process of doing them at a higher level than simply awful – so with some basic level of skill. My problem is that I genuinely want to be good at such enormously difficult things, and rightly or wrongly a part of me absolutely believes that I can be. Yes it may be a fantasy – but what fun to really, truly make the effort, to discover more about myself and my limitations.
Whatever the outcome I am so glad that 6 months ago I started both of these ventures – they have given me so much – and even more thrilled that I am still hanging in there. The weirdest thing is that I have even more energy for them both than I did when I started – that seems to be a characteristic of these kind of complex subjects – they are open ended and you get out of them as much as you put into them, you can never master them and for that reason they remain always fascinating and motivational.
They inspire you in a way that simpler, more achievable interests never can.