Thursday, January 5, 2017

Interpersonal Growth

So the honeymoon week of school (which is the first week in the new school) is quickly coming to a close, and I'm getting a sense of what's in store for me in the coming year and four months, and even though it's not bad, I can't say that I'm all too thrilled about it.

As I type, I still have school-related work to get done, work that I'd rather not have to do if I'm honest. A whole lot of documentation-y work, and that is the part of the job that I sigh the most loudly to. Alas, work is work, and teachers have to do what teachers have to do.

Yesterday was the teacher-band's first practice session, and I was assigned as the bassist. We shall be playing for a wedding, if I'm not mistaken, in a couple of weeks' time. In the band is also a full-time professional guitarist who mostly plays hotel and bar gigs. He has a degree in music and has been playing for many years, and watching him play was mesmerising.

He would almost never hit a bad note/chord, and the types of chords that he was playing all look made up, but sounded so good. If he did hit a wrong note, it would be like one in a thousand notes, and he seems to be able to play at 100 notes per second. I exaggerate, but this guy was really something on the guitar. I can safely say that I will never in my wildest dreams be able to play as well as him.

After the practice session I went up to him and asked him about stuff, like whether or not he was a professional guitarist (he was), whether or not he had a band (yes, but they're not very active), and how he got to be so darn good (diploma and degree in music as well as years and years of daily practice).

And in my approaching him to talk, I realised that I had grown in one specific sense. I have developed my ability (and confidence) in talking to strangers. This guitarist was a stranger to me, and we had established nothing in common except for the fact that we jammed together for a couple of hours (no talking though). As far as I've known me, I would never go up to a stranger and start a conversation with them. That's just not what I do. I've always identified with being an introvert, and introverts don't initiate conversations with strangers.

But I somehow mustered up the courage to go up this guy whose guitar-playing I admired and ask him about just that. I was genuinely interested and had thought about talking to him about it throughout our practice session, but I never thought I'd actually do those things.

And in this anecdote, I thought to myself that in 2016, I grew in terms of interpersonal ability. Just the sheer amount of conversations I listened to and participated in via podcasts made me a better conversationalist (at least to myself, compared to the me of the past). I'm glad that I was able to talk to that guitarist and get to hear a bit of his story. It was a concrete display of growth in my books, and being able to see progress in my own self is a great thing to be able to acknowledge.

OF COURSE I have a long way to go. I'm still super awkward and not anywhere near as fluent as I want to be. But I think I'm on my way.

Here's to more conversations with more interesting people.

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