Dougal says to Father Ted "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" and Father Ted says melodramatically, "PPprrractice!" and Dougal says, "No, seriously though, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?". It's probably funnier if you watch them do it, it's probably on youtube. But anyway, I digress. Practice. I watched a bit of Mike Oldfield playing Tubular Bells the other day, it was the bit at the end with the complicated bass line and then the guy says "Grand Piano" and all the instruments get brought in one at a time. You know the bit. The last instrument is "Tubular Bells!" and then it ends. Anyway, I've been trying to figure out the bass line for years and never quite got the hang of it, but looking at his fingers I could see how he was playing it - and it's really pretty hard. Which is why I've had such a hard time getting the hang of it. But now I had the video - and the secret of where he was putting his fingers! I figured out the pattern but at first I could only play it at about half the proper speed and with loads of mistakes. I also needed to develop another callous on a part of my finger that I don't normally use! And then I had to practice. After about 4 days and a lot of annoying my wife - who complained bitterly about having that stupid riff in her head all the time - I have finally cracked it. Well, more or less. It hurts my hands after about 3 rounds and I still make a few mistakes, but I can pretty much play it - which I certainly couldn't when I started out. And it just made me think how amazing the human body is and what a lot we can achieve with just a little bit of practice. Unfortunately, the modern world doesn't really encourage practice, we are constantly shown a lot of people who are excellent at what they do - the best chefs, the best musicians, the best tennis players - and we compare ourselves to them, fail and give up. Our society offers us instant gratification and quick fixes. If you have a problem there's a machine or a pill or a book that will fix it for you without you doing more than open your wallet. The thing is, we only see people once they *are* good - after the years of hard work and practice. We never see the slog and the sweat, we just see their moment of glory on TV. So we can't relate to it and when we do start playing the trombone or running a marathon - or being happy, it's easy to fall at the first hurdle and think that we are just not good enough. When in fact, we just haven't practised enough. Running is another good example. When I started running I followed the BUPA programme and got it slightly wrong so I ran for 2 minutes then walked for one and repeated this 6 times. I was absolutely knackered, had to lie down and could hardly walk upstairs afterwards! Now, after lots of practice at running, I can run for 30 minutes with no ill effects. I never thought I'd get to this point, when I started it didn't seem possible, but practicing makes it easy. I guess you also need patience because practice takes a while and it takes persistence. It applies to many areas though, last week I had a meeting with a prospective client, I don't get to do many of these and I am fairly terrible at it! I guess it's like a mini job interview. The more I do though, the better I get, there are questions which get asked every time and each time I get to practice my answers. If I live long enough I might even get good at meeting new clients! And if you want to be happy, you might need to have a few goes at it, don't give up - PPPrrractice!