Experiencing progress is a funny thing. It's hard to see your own growth. It's like watching your hair grow. It happens very gradually. Then, one day, you look in the mirror and realize—“I need a haircut!”
What's frustrating is progress is not linear. You don't put in one unit of work and get one unit of progress out of it. Human learning just doesn't work that way.
Instead you will experience a lot of ups and downs from one day to the next. But, if you just keep showing up daily and work on the right things, your average ability will keep improving. The general trend is up.
No matter how long you play, you will have out of the ordinary days. Good ones and bad ones.
Some days you'll play terribly and feel like you've taken 10 steps back.
Then other days you'll surprise yourself and play like you never knew you could.
I tell my students to think of these extraordinary days like this...
Let's say you practiced today and it was awful—just terrible. The terrible days are a humble reminder of your past.
It wasn't long ago that your average ability...was always that terrible!
And even longer ago, today's awful practice was one of your “I didn't know I could play that well!” days.
So, the bad days are a glimpse of your past. They remind you of where you came from, where you used to be.
Now, guess what the great, “I didn't know I could do that!” days are? They are a glimpse of your future! If you keep practicing the right things, those great days will soon become your average days.
And even further in your future, great days now will become one of your future terrible days!
So, never feel frustrated or hopeless with your day to day progress. Today's bad day was your absolute best not long ago. And, your best days now will soon be your worst.
Just keep showing up every day, work on the right things, and your progress is inevitable!