One of the most powerful tidbits of inspiration I’ve ever heard was, “If you think you can or you think you can’t…You’re right.”

Anyone CAN learn to send and receive code well (and fast)… if they decide they want to. This applies to plateaus as well. Your success is directly coupled to your attitude.

I was 14 years old in January 1965 when I first began the journey to pass my NOVICE license test. By April I was WN2SQJ and sending and receiving 15 WPM on a straight key. CW came easy to me. In a year I upgraded to General and had mastered 20 or so WPM. I don’t know why but code has always been easy for me. Perhaps that’s why I have trouble tying my shoelaces.

There were a handful of other kids in the group who got their tickets. Most had no trouble getting to 10 WPM. Perhaps the support we gave each other helped to ensure success.

Fast forward to today. Impatience can be a killer. In a world filled with so much negative and unhappy stuff, maintaining a positive attitude is a true challenge. Convincing yourself that you will master code at a certain level is not impossible if you decide you will do it and have the patience and purpose to achieve the goal.

Today we have many tools to guide, motivate and gauge success. Computer programs, Elmers, Code Buddies and a jillion opportunities to practice in real life situations.

Methods for achieving success are as numerous and varied as the number of practitioners. When asked, high speed operators consistently express two essentials to their success: practice and the desire to succeed.

Daily practice should be done to the point where exhaustion and frustration just come into view. For some that’s an hour a day for others it’s 15 minutes. Whatever that number might be, it should be approached every day, according to successful high speed operators. Daily practice should always exceed your current skill level presenting a moderate challenge.

Desire is more nebulous because the value of the reward varies widely. When facing one’s self in the mirror each morning, part of the routine should include some inspirational self-coaching that says that practice will happen for at least XX minutes today.

When I was a much younger person who had decided that I absolutely had to have my FCC First Class Commercial Radiotelephone Operators License and my Amateur Extra Class ticket, I focused my efforts everyday. Code was easy for me. Theory was a torturous rock climb filled with hazards and falls. In the end, I passed both exams with good scores (though it did take me two shots to get the commercial ticket.)

Today, I enjoy the fruits of that effort. The work, the self-coaching, the daily practice (studying) and the struggle to overcome my own shortcomings paid off. Attitude was the single most effective tool because without it I would have given up.

Finding one’s groove in the pursuit of higher speed code can be difficult. Once you figure out what works best for you, stick with it. The size of your progression’s increments is far less important than the fact that progress is happening at all. With patience and a positive attitude, success will be yours.

No matter what you are chasing, all of the above applies. Simply change any mention of code to _______ (that which you chase) and you will achieve what you seek.