365Ways-001 Practice, Practice, Practice

Posted on : 06-04-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Communication, Mind Fodder

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Uggh. Practice!  Until yesterday, I had a belief that I never really practiced at anything consistently on a daily basis, that is until I spoke with my Mom (thanks Mom!) and she reminded me about the writing I had been doing on a regular basis over past few years (until recently when I took a “writing hiatus”).  She was able to see improvement in my writing over time where I was unable to see my writing growth.

A couple of years ago, Malcolm Gladwell came out with the book, “Outliers” which is about….here is his definition:

What is an outlier?

“Outlier” is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot. But imagine if you had a day in the middle of August where the temperature fell below freezing. That day would be outlier. And while we have a very good understanding of why summer days in Paris are warm or hot, we know a good deal less about why a summer day in Paris might be freezing cold. In this book I’m interested in people who are outliers—in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August.

Fast forward a few years to Matthew Syed’s book, “Bounce” which further explores what makes exceptional people, well, exceptional which is hard work and lot’s and lot’s of practice.  These two books can help us with our perspective about excellent outliers the next time we see someone who is exceptional at something and instead of just “assuming” it is because they are lucky, that they were just born that way, and/or they were at the right place at the right time we will be able to consider that they probably have put lots of hard work and time into being able to do what they do so well.

Hmmmm. What have I created with the many hours of on-line solitaire that I’ve played?  More ruts in my brain?

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have a curious and open mind about who someone is and how they are able to do what they do so well rather than to come from a “victim” mentality of believing that I am less than because I cannot do what they do or at least not as well.

We all have something inside of us that can be magnificent if we take the time to polish and shine it up with steadfast dedication.  Malcolm and Matthew say that to become excellent or an outlier with something the research shows that one spends about 10,000 hours of doing it, fine tuning it, reshaping it, paying attention to it, etc.  So if we spent just two hours a day working and practicing at something we’d really like to become an expert at then we will become an expert in a little over 13 years from now.

Let’s get started!! What are you going to be mindful about doing every day for 1-2 hours for the next decade or so?  Assuming we’ll all be alive, we’re going to be breathing, eating, sleeping and all that other good stuff that goes with life…so why not be intentional about some of what we’re doing?   What will you do?