When I started violin lessons in first grade, I refused to play a recital. The prospect of sharing my work with an audience terrified me.
Eventually, my mom and teacher convinced me to set a goal of working towards a recital by the end of second grade.
I’ve been performing ever since.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to observe new things before participating. It’s a way to get a feel for the activity or experience – to make the unfamiliar familiar – before jumping in the deep end.
But observation is ultimately an incredibly limited way to learn. You can’t really excel at something until you’ve raised the stakes and done it for real.
Coding a website, for example, will accelerate your skills faster than watching someone else do it.
Teaching a concept to a friend will help you understand it better than just reading about it.
And working towards performing a piece of music forces you to internalize it in a way than practicing alone never will.
You can spend your whole life observing and preparing to do something. But at some point, you have to start before you’re ready.
Might as well start now.