"Life is like playing the violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." Samuel Butler.
Replace "life" with "managing Manchester United" and consider the daunting challenge on David Moyes's mind as he drove into Carrington on Monday morning. He may have experienced some jitters. He would have done well not to feel overwhelmed.
Moyes started his first official day in charge trying to continue the dynasty built by Sir Alex Ferguson over 27 gilded years, with Wayne Rooney's future at the head of the perpetually increasing, always-morphing list of issues he is expected to control.
Since being handed the job on 9 May as Ferguson's successor Moyes has been on a United crash course, attempting to gain some kind of working handle on arguably the world's biggest football club.
Seven weeks before the whirl of another pre-season begins is as much any new manager of United could be granted. For this Moyes can be grateful to the executive who ensured the ending of Ferguson's reign and the start of his was handled slickly and swiftly.
In this near two-month period the pressing business for Moyes has been how best to handle the unsettled Rooney before meeting him this week, assembling his own backroom staff and the decision to make an opening bid for Everton's Leighton Baines – all moves that could well have significant impact on his hopes of success.
Two hours after arriving at United's training base came confirmation that Steve Round, as assistant manager, Jimmy Lumsden (coach) and Chris Woods (goalkeeping coach) have all been appointed to follow him from Everton as replacements for Mike Phelan, René Meulensteen and Eric Steele.
"I have worked with Steve, Chris and Jimmy for a number of years and I am delighted they have decided to join me at this great club," said Moyes. "They bring great qualities in their respective fields and I know that, like me, they feel that this is a challenge to relish. I have great faith that together, we can build upon the success this club has enjoyed over many years."
In ensuring he has an inner circle of trusted lieutenants Moyes states that United will be his club now, a message continued with the bid for Baines. This tells Patrice Evra his status as United's first-choice left-back is threatened, which in turn shakes up the dressing-room dynamic.
The Frenchman has been the de facto captain over the past two seasons due to Nemanja Vidic's ongoing injury struggles, an important figure for Ferguson and a key shop steward for the squad. Not any more it would seem. After Moyes's opening offer of about £12m for Baines was rejected, he will return with an increased bid and hope eventually to sign him.
Evra now understands he may have to find a new club. Given that Vidic's future is yet to be clarified, he could be next. No fresh contract has been forthcoming for the centre-back, who will be 32 in October and has entered the final 12 months of his current deal. Contrast this with how the first transaction Moyes signed off as manager was to grant Rio Ferdinand – three years Vidic's senior – another 12 months at United.
To cull the entire backroom staff plus (potentially) captain and vice-captain would send a jolt through the club and players, some of whom may already feel bemused at the Moyes approach.
He is about to get a sense of whether they do. On Tuesday and Wednesday his new group start filtering back to Carrington to undergo tests to ensure they are fit enough to embark on pre-season. On Thursday he addresses them before a first training session under his guidance.
Then comes a debut press conference as United's manager which, though to be confirmed, should be on Friday. There, Moyes will comprehend how much his profile has grown in the heat of an unveiling packed with journalists and TV crews and broadcast globally.
Next Wednesday Moyes, his squad and the United entourage jet out on a customised plane for a three-week tour that is the longest in club history. A week on Saturday in Bangkok the Singha All Stars present the first opposition of his tenure. The tour then moves to Sydney where the A-League All Stars await on 20 July before stops in Japan (for matches versus Yokohama F Marinos and Cerezo Osaka, on 23 and 26 July) and Hong Kong (29 July to play Kitchee FC), before the squad return home.
The United circus then flies back out again on 6 August to Sweden to face AIK; Ferdinand's testimonial – against Sevilla – is Moyes's first match at Old Trafford on 9 August; then two days later the 50-year-old will be desperate to win his first trophy when Wigan Athletic are the opposition in the Community Shield at Wembley before the season finally begins at Swansea City on 17 August.
When Manchester City host United on 21 Septembe, Moyes will have already sent a team out to try to beat José Mourinho's Chelsea (his first home league game) and Liverpool at Anfield.
That date at the Etihad Stadium can stand for the end of the first chapter of United under Moyes. Between now and then the Scot can start to understand how successful he might be in his new role.
At times the demands of being manager may feel to Moyes like juggling while counting continually from 100 backwards as a marble balances on his head. If it sounds impossible that's because only the very best can pull the act off.