Tilted.

(Other perspectives) Every day. Same thing. But not nothing. Every day. We grow. I grow. Towards the sun. 

Her head tilted, thinking about what to write. She has been doing the same thing over and over again for days, and there seems to be nothing new to share. Tilted. Is that all life offers? 

I have known about Jiro – a Japanese senior who has been making sushi for over 75 years – when I read a self-help book for the very first time. The author was discussing about how hard-working would bring people far, far away from where they initially were, just like Jiro owns the best Japanese sushi restaurant in the world by making sushi every day.

Every day. Same thing.

When I think about this now, I wonder what this patient and perseverance bring forth to our life. I mean, literally? It takes years and years for a person to be success in something, but they will not have any story to tell until that day.

Every day. Same thing. 

Over the summer, I play the piano every morning and evening. When my parents asked me what had I done all day, that’s what I would tell them: piano. I believe practice makes perfect, and I believe my skill only sharper as days pass. But how good I am actually? It is impossible for me to devote my whole life in one thing, when there are just so many more things that I want to explore.

Back then, I wanted to play the piano, but I also wanted to improve my English and Spanish skill, I also wanted to hang out with my sister to bond our relationship, I also wanted to swim and swim a lot because it was my most favorite way to get fit. It is just impossible to just do one thing the whole day. 

So then how can I be success in anything? 

My head tilted. I don’t want to tell no story. But I also don’t want to have no significant story at all. Doing many things helps me to grow in different fields, but lessens my ability to be in-depth in any specific area. I would try. I would try to make my “sushi” every day, but would also try to make “ramen”, “pho”, and many, many other types of food that eventually I would have a diverse variety. 

My head then wouldn’t be tilted. I would confidently and excitedly wrote down what I love doing and what I have done. 

Until then, I have to keep practicing and exploring. I have to be persistent in order to be good. 

Puzzle Piano and Books

My own guide to complete a puzzle: 

  • Step 1: sort out pieces that build up the frame of the picture, especially the four corners. 
  • Step 2: sort out different colors: bright and dark, or other special details that can be easily recognized. 
  • Step 3: don’t be intimidated, and be patient

And by being patient with a little piece of puzzle every day, I learn how to apply those steps in bigger or more complicated situations in my academic and social life. 

How many of us are often so discouraged by our surrounding environment? We all know that factors like the weather, transportation, stress, or even friends, mentors might sometimes stop us from wanting to do our best. And it takes time for us to know that those are small challenges that test our ability to be persistent and stick to the plan. 

Puzzle is a way for me to feel better. As well as books. When I stop doing these things, there’s a voice in me saying, “You are not doing things as good as you used to!” And I believe that that is totally true. Without books, my words would become fragmented. Without puzzle, my nerve would dwell up and it stops myself from many more important things in life than just worrying. 

People say, “Oh these things are just not for me. I am not talented enough to learn it.” 

That’s nonsense. When I learned about Piaget, I partly agree with him because in my life I have been in touch with many kids from a wide range of ages, especially I have witnessed my sister’s life since she was a newborn. I know how their thinking develops after each stage of life, and they all seem to be consistent with what Piaget described in his theory. However, there is one thing I don’t really agree with him: human development continues even after the last stage – formal operations. 

We all learn and continuously learn and improve even when we stop going to school. And that is how we grow in personality and ability. 

Talent is not something that you are born with in your blood. You perceive it after a long while of trying and failing. I have to admit that failures suck, but without those moments of discouraging, I would never know what it means to have real happiness, or to have the real stories to tell others. 

When I recall my journals that I have been written for years, I realized the days when I could write good stories were the days I cried because someone hurt me, or because I made something wrong. It the days when sins were confessed, and that also meant I withdrew lessons from mistakes. 

I am not talented at playing piano. Even though I can play sonatas or many other long classic pieces, I still have to admit I am not talented.

Because the work I have done so far is the result of hard work. Really hard-work. 

I know how many hours a week I have to devote to piano in order to be better and better at it. I know how hard it will be for me to play a piece after a while without actually practicing. There is no such thing at being talented at playing instrument in me. But there is the one thing called patient. 

And that is exactly everything I would ever need.