If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that I’ve been running an experiment on myself for the last six years… I’ve been working to improve my guitar playing, simply by ensuring that I simply play at least 5 minutes every day (following an initial 52 lessons in 2010 with Lucas Cook). One interesting side-effect of this is that I play two types of music.
To wake up my fingers each morning I play two Jazz standards, which together last a total of around three minutes. I’ve been playing these each day for four years (I think) and over that time I have slowly improved, though I still find them complex.
The rest of the time, which is around 20 minutes each morning and often the same again just before I go to bed, I play compositions which I have created myself. These have got ever more complicated over the years as my skills in fingering, picking and bringing notes, chords & melodies together improve.
It strikes me that these two types of progress are analogous to how organisations evolve. Most focus on efficiency and evolve incrementally, whereas others eschew efficiency and are instead constantly adapting to an ever-changing marketplace. To my mind the latter are focused on performance and whilst they are less efficient as a result, they are more engaging and exciting places to work.
It strikes me that the people in the former would trend towards being bored, whereas the latter are constantly adding to their value in the marketplace. I also hypothesise that the former are comfortable in their efficient success, whereas the latter are constantly failing, which is harder work to sustain, even when you’re actually making faster progress.
Do you have a view on this?
I ran from my folks’ place this morning and it was slightly warmer than last week, but still chillsome. As I ran and the analogy above rolled around my mind, so I realised that I needed new views to break me out of the incremental thinking. Halfway to Ovingdean I turned right and headed over the hill into the next valley, or dean. This is the one with Ovingdean in it. From there, rather than running down to the sea as normal, I ran up and over into the next valley and down to the sea at Roedean.
I wasn’t quite far enough East to run down the service road to the Undercliff Walk, so I ran along the top of the cliffs and soaked up the amazing view down onto the chalk seabed below at low tide. It has really muted colour-ways but it’s one of my favourite things… as I ran so I briefly chatted to another runner who wholeheartedly agreed.
As I reached the hill before Rottingdean, so I turned left and ran up the ridge to the top of Ovingdean and then on back to Woodingdean.
According to Strava I ran 6.7 miles in 67 minutes, a healthy average (compared to my recent performance) of 6 miles per hour, though I would clearly need to run more frequently to make any progress in improving on this.