The long road to Lincolnshire (and other places)

This morning I came across an interesting blog post on productivity, which is titled 'The McDonald's Theory' (there's a link at the bottom of this post).  The theme is how to get started on a project, particularly a difficult, long, or still rather amorphous project.  The conclusion: just start, even start with a deliberately bad idea (in his extended example, the author jump starts a discussion on where to have lunch by suggesting McDonald's, and by having a concrete idea that everyone rejects, generates much better lunch ideas, and actually leaves time for having lunch too).

I recognised much of this in our approach to ringing handbells.  Quite often we will try to ring something we know we can't do, just to see how far we get.  Then next week we will try it again, and try to get farther, and it isn't long before it becomes one of our little (or extended) projects.  Once you give something a try, the goals start defining themselves.

Some of the ideas we try really are rubbish, and go no further than the first try.  But it has a use, we learn something, and it is a pretty good motivator for doing your homework better for next week in order to avoid that rubbish again.

It is the same for anyone just starting to learn to ring handbells, or in fact for a new handbell group.  Just start ringing and see how far you get.  Don't worry about being rubbish.  Assume you won't get very far: now you are free not to worry about it.  You might surprise yourself.

What does this have to do with Lincolnshire?  Well, we have had a good couple of weeks, which started with a quarter peal of Lincolnshire Royal.  This itself was following a fairly dismal couple of weeks of pure ringing frustration for everybody, but Simon insisted that the quarter would go.  'We haven't lost a quarter of Surprise Royal yet,' he said blithely. 'Yet', I replied darkly.

And it did go, even though we hadn't really practiced it much together.  And we have had a couple of productive sessions with Seph, and we rang a very satisfactory peal of Stedman Caters, and all in all, this handbell stuff is getting a little bit easier.

If we can do it, so can you.  Pick up a pair of bells, give something a go, see where your road eventually takes you.


For those who want to read the McDonald's Theory for themselves: (and thanks to Peter Sheppard for bringing it to my attention)