For the past seven months or so, I’ve been faced with a new challenge in Lindy Hop: very slow progress on something I’m focusing on (aerials). Not progressing the fastest among my peers. For the past few years of my dancing, that’s been really uncommon. Maybe I’ve been prideful about it? No maybe’s about it. I’ve taken great satisfaction in it. I’ve been a high achiever. No so much with this work. It’s been slow, grinding progress. Extremely slow. Sometimes it feels like two steps back, one step forward.
And yet, throughout this time, I’ve been able to keep from getting frustrated by focusing on my process. Watching a lot of other people’s progress. Trying to understand what was making successful people successful. Trying to get a lot of feedback from expert coaches. Trying to get feedback from my partners and peers. Accepting and trying to internalize suggestions and critiques. Trying to get video of myself for self-critique. Keeping my goals in mind. Remembering other challenges that I’ve met and overcome, and how that’s worked in my favor. My emotional state hasn’t been perfectly serene the whole time, as I’ve definitely had my valleys, but it hasn’t ever been … bad.
I’ve been trying to use it as a reminder what it’s like being a novice. When you’re a novice, the number of problems to fix can seem overwhelming. When you’re a novice, it’s difficult to know what order to fix things in. When you’re a novice, on any given practice repetition, it’s difficult to concentrate on fixing more than one thing at a time.
How do you deal with learning something that you have a high desire to do, but make much slower progress at than you’re used to making?