In my younger days, I would often hear the words “medical practice'” or “law practice” and think to myself how ridiculous the word “practice” was in those terms.
My thought process went something like this: “Why the heck do we pay these people big bucks and trust them with essential things (like our health!) to practice!?” Have you ever thought about this?
At some point, when I grew up a bit, I realized that life, regardless of your career, is all about practice. I started thinking about the greatest of greats in their respective fields, and it made sense.
Bill Gates didn’t just wake up one morning and build the greatest computer. Clayton Kershaw didn’t become one of the greatest pitchers by just showing up to the game. All of the greats became greats through ongoing practice. Because, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to be great without it.
As a matter of fact, we actually spend more time practicing than the amount of time it takes for the actual event. For example, let’s look at a football player. Sorry, I know it’s a sports example, but I’m a sports guy 🙂 A kicker might practice 100 field goal kicks before a game that only requires him to kick 10 times. That’s a lot of practice!
Okay, let’s shift that idea outside of the sports analogy.
Let’s say that you want to be a better communicator. You can’t just sit in a room and say to yourself, “I am going to be a better listener.” You have to practice that skill in real-life situations. You might start by jotting down more specifics like, “I want to be a better listener” or “I want to stay calm in situations that get me riled up.”
Once you have your list, you can be aware of your communication skills during each interaction you have. You can continue to work on aspects of that skill in every conversation you have – with friends, family, co-workers, the grocery store cashier, etc. When you do it every day, each interaction you have improves—practice, practice, and practice.
Personally, I practice through reading. Learning new things and taking them into my own life to practice helps me be the version that I have chosen for me. There is no right or wrong answer for what to practice. Just pick something and do it.
If you’re looking for a good book on the topic, I’d recommend Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. A big misconception about this book is that it’s about how to become a millionaire. In reality, it focuses on the psychological power of thought and the brain in the process of growth, not only for monetary benefits but also for personal satisfaction.
So, I will leave you with this…
What do you want to change in your life? What do you want to get better at? Yoga, being a more present partner, getting a promotion, saving more money? Whatever your answer is, you can change your story. Start by looking at practice differently than you have in the past. I am confident you will see a shift in your mind.
Life is good. – Jeff
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