A couple days back, I had a conversation with a viewer about playing hard songs and how they would like to play it too if it weren't for their skill level so it got me thinking about how I try and tackle difficult songs.
I guess unless you're naturally physically fit and have good reaction times, hard songs are easier to conquer for you. But for those who struggle with keeping up to begin with or have physical injuries, it's more difficult to overcome tough maps.
I hurt myself a long time back while playing this game (I have permanent tennis elbow now) and after that, playing maps was a physically challenging and mentally arduous task. Mentally, it was exhausting. I am never satisfied with my own scores because once upon a time "I could do better". Satisfaction is a tantalizing, far-reaching concept. It was a journey trying to come to terms with it.
It took me a long time to realize that relying on natural reaction speed or physique isn't going to get me anywhere at this point. I can no longer rely on the fact that I could bust through songs on sight read and then get a better score on the 2nd try. Even though I could still sight read most maps, at around the same time, mapping has evolved and they are getting increasingly difficult. I needed to put my nose to the grindstone and start working harder.
But harder doesn't mean brute forcing my way through by swinging hard, wild, and fast. It meant doing my homework and that involves watching my own replays, or watching other people's videos and try to play along with it. Recognizing my own weakness (timing) helped me pinpoint what to practice and how to go about it. For example, if it is a really fast song, I usually play it slowed down in practice mode to understand the pattern and how I'm supposed to swing my arms more efficiently (and to avoid smashing my controllers together...). It also helps me get familiar with the timing of the song and the timing of the cubes. I also play easy/slower songs to practice my accuracy and it has done wonders for me when I play faster songs because I'm naturally swinging better now.
Changing my mentality and approach towards the game helps me see it in a different perspective. Failing doesn't mean I suck. It just means that I have stuff to learn. I can do better now because I no longer feel angry or upset at not being able to get something "right". I just know that I have room to improve and that's honestly the best revelation I've had thus far in my life.