A couple of weeks ago, I bought Tim a guitar for his birthday.
It’s a nice guitar (living on credit cards while we start the business seems to bring out the spendthrift in me). But the gift was more symbolic than practical.
You see, many, many years ago, Tim shared a flat with his friend Andrew. Andrew played guitar very well (and still does) while Tim played guitar very badly (and still does).
On a Friday night, the boys would stagger home from the Student Union with their friends. Tim would beg Andrew to play guitar. Andrew would refuse. So Tim would grab the guitar and flail away at it like a man chopping firewood. Apparently the ditty most frequently in line for butchery was Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
As a result, Andrew would grab the guitar and start to play – beautifully.
The obvious moral is that if you want something to happen but you’re not quite up to the task then don’t wait. You’re unlikely to improve enough to do it as well as you want. You’ll probably just forget about it.
Far better to pick up the guitar and give it a good, loud, horrible twang.
Because with a bit of luck, someone who plays better than you will take it off you and play the song really well. Someone who knows more about the subject will amend your Wikipedia entry. Someone who knows more about lifetime value modelling will tweak your spreadsheet. Someone who has done it before will offer their help.
To this day, Tim swears by his patented ‘pick up the guitar’ motivational technique. And having taken the metaphorical guitar off him on many occasions, I know he’s right.
The alternative is stagnation. The alternative is letting ideas that could blossom in someone else’s mind go to waste.
Go on. Pick up the guitar.
PS In order to complete a hat-trick of Bob Marley links inside a month, I’ll leave you with this.
We went camping this summer with friends, and on one rainy day we visited their young cousin who lived close by. She and her family were organising a summer fete in their garden to raise money for a trip she was planning – volunteering for a small rural school in Africa.