…do it everyday.
This is a quote by wrestling coach Dan Gable. It’s one of those things that’s so simple and common sense you wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along. If it’s important do it everyday.
This is one of the huge problems with batch building of anything. If you fret 15 necks in a week, ho wlong before you fret again? What did your mind and hands learn and then forget in that time? That’s not how we learn anything. We don’t cram Spanish for a semester and then remember it all when its necessary? Sound familiar? The most effective route, the most powerful, is slowly and persistently chipping away towards the goal-everyday. It’s the way I’ve directed my build process for the resonators, one at a time. Not because it’s romantic, but because that is how we learn. I want my hands to remember what they learned the last time they did something, and the shorter the time between the operations the better.
The Mulecasters are TIG welded and there’s quite a learning curve. TIG welding, I’ve learned, is one of those things that are so simple and zen, there is no end to the learning and that is why its addictive. It’s important for me to learn and so I do it everyday. The above picture is a test blank that I do every morning when I come in. Here’s important qualities for setting up your ‘do it everyday’ learning.
- Small chunks. If you want to make it a habit start with something so small that its impossible to make excuses out of it. It takes me maybe 10-15 minutes to weld it. As I get faster…. I do the same amount. Maybe it will be only 5 minutes. Doing it more is not the point. Doing it every day is the point. Its a reward for your efforts.
- Learn one thing every day. See the writing on the blank? I make notes of my welder settings I use. If I change something, I change only that thing. That way at the end of the week I can look back with fresh eyes and see what make the best, or worst, improvement. If I change a setting, I stick with it for the whole blank. Your initial impression might be wrong. Learn to deal with the change and you’ll learn VASTLY more than if you abandon ship. Lean in. It might be a disaster, or it might be a game changer.
- Specificity. The welds on the mulecasters are corner welds so, for now, that is my blank. They are 22 gauge stainless steel, so that is what my blank is. I have one goal for my TIG welding- make guitar bodies. Not shelves, not tube frames- guitar bodies. I don’t grab whatever scrap I have. Same blank. Same material. Same technique. Mastery is the goal, not generality.
What is important to your progression in what you do ? Distill it down to three things. Not four, or five. It has to be able to be accomplished each day, regardless of situation. Create a system that you can be successful in regardless of schedule, health, or mood. You don’t get points for staying up all night every month to ‘get after it’. Relentless forward progress. Every day.