A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the quickest way to learn maths – something that I could have added to that post is this; you have to enjoy what you’re doing and what you’re learning about.

So what’s Steve Vai got to do with anything? Well Steve Vai is my favourite musician, most famous for his guitar playing abilities. I don’t consider myself a musician – I can play a few tunes on a guitar (not Steve’s stuff) but I don’t understand music in any appreciable depth. However, Steve Vai is someone who has inspired me as a person for many years since I first started listening to his music around 17 or 18 years ago. I was looking through his Youtube videos last week and I came across this one; it’s an interview with Steve where he’s talking about his famous 10 hour workout that he used to undertake when learning the guitar. What really made my ears prick up is what he says at around 5.30 onwards – that his 10 hour workout was really much more than that because he was thinking about music and the guitar all the time; because he loved what he was doing it didn’t feel like work.

This took me back to when I was doing my A Level maths because this is exactly what was happening in my mind as I was doing my A Level maths. Maths wasn’t something that I just did in lessons or when I decided to get my books out to do a bit of homework or revise for an exam; maths was something that I was almost always thinking about. Because I loved the subject so much I was happy to¬†wake up thinking about maths and fall asleep at night thinking about maths and to be thinking about maths as much as possible in between. It didn’t feel like work to me – I was thinking about problems all day long; it excited me to solve problems and to learn more about the subject. I wasn’t happy to just stick to the basic A Level maths content – that wasn’t enough for me; because I was thinking about the subject all the time I could get through the basic A Level content very quickly. It never felt like I was doing work. And when I wasn’t doing maths I as wanting to be doing maths. If I’m honest – I found A Level maths fairly straightforward. Please don’t take that as me trying to be big-headed or that I see myself as some intellectually superior being; I found it straightforward because of how I felt about it. It would probably have been a very different outcome had I not enjoyed maths to the extent that I did.

The point I’m trying to make is this; if you enjoy what you do to such a level then it’s so much easier to learn and so much faster to learn. I’m not saying that everyone has to be obsessive about maths because everyone has theor own interests – what I am saying is that whatever you choose to do you have to have a drive to do it and you have to love what you’re doing if you want rapid progress. There will still be times when you get stuck, when you get frustrated and pissed off, you still have to put the time and effort in but if it is something that you genuinely love doing then you can easily get past all that and carry on.

I think Steve puts this into words very well in his video and even though he’s talking about learning music or guitar, I think what he says applies to whatever you do. If you don’t love what you do then you’re always going to be at a disadvantage to someone who does love doing it.

Here’s a link to SteveVaiHimself Youtube Channel and the SteveVaiVEVO Youtube Channel. You can also visit his website at www.vai.com