For years I’ve been trying to learn the Maple Leaf Rag, by Scott Joplin. It is such a fun, bouncing, energetic tune. Yet every time I sit down to try to learn it, I’m quickly discouraged by the irregular rag-time rhythm patterns, and I give up.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

– Ralph Waldo Emmerson

I think every large accomplishment is made up of many of small victories. We see this all the time in nature. A beaver building its dam, ants building their ant-hills, migrations, the daily challenge of survival: all these are achieved with patient, dedicated, sustainable persistence.

Why should I be any different? Why do I give up so easily on the tasks set before me, or the goals I strive to accomplish, or even the man I want to become? Why are the long victories such a challenge, and the lack of immediate results so disheartening? Why is it so hard to stick to that darn Maple Leaf Rag??

The answer is simple: I need to mindfully exercise, and develop the habit of patience.

Patience to build incrementally. Patience to improve a little bit at a time, day in and day out. Patience to put in the extra effort, even when results are slow in coming. Patience to sit at that piano and plunk and plunk until the patterns are learned.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to learn that Maple Leaf Rag, or perish in the attempt, and see if I can’t use patience to achieve my goals in the other aspects of my life as well.

With patience, in time, what is it that YOU will accomplish?

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