Human beings are often born with a certain ability or a number of abilities and these will vary from person to person. Other people may enable one to realise what they are good at or one may have to get in touch or ‘find’ what they are good at themselves.
Once one realises what they are it will then be important for them to nurture whatever they find. What this means then, is that this is active process and not something that just happens. Just sitting back and being passive is therefore not going to allow one to fulfil their strengths.
There are numerous examples of people who have had the ability to do something and yet, that is as far as it has gone for them. Their abilities have been wasted and it will always be a mystery to themselves and to others as to what they could have achieved.
Fortunately, there are also plenty of examples of people who have embraced their abilities. And this could be the result of someone else in their life that was able to recognise what they couldn’t recognise in themselves or they may have simply taken their own initiative.
But no matter whether other people were around or one had to start off by themselves, they would have to have been committed. This wouldn’t have been something that they did every now and then; it would have been something they did on a fairly consistent basis.
And though this, they would have been able to develop their abilities. To the outsider it may look as though they were just born a certain way or they were lucky. But no matter what abilities they were born with, they had to play their part.
This shows how important practice is; as without it, one is not going to develop their abilities. It is not uncommon to hear that ‘practice makes perfect’. Here, one will go over something again and again until they have mastered it or have reached a certain level of competence.
So if they haven’t mastered something or if they haven’t progressed, it’s because they haven’t practiced enough. And many people are going to support this outlook and this is because it sounds right.
Ten Thousand Hours
It has been said that is takes ten thousand hours to achieve mastery in any field. If one was to follow this rule they might end up making a note of how long they have practised something for. And then in their mind, they are probably going to expect to fulfil their desired outcome once these hours have passed.
Now, for some people this amount of time it is going to reflect how long something will actually take to master and for other people, it won’t. There are exceptions to every rule and life is rarely black and white.
More Than Practice
There are going to be some people who don’t practice as much as others and yet, they could end up being just as good, if not better. And what this points to is the fact that there is more to mastery than practice alone.
This can be because of how each person processes information and how their memory works. It can also be the result of how each person practises.
Doing The Wrong Thing
On one side, one could practice something over and over again and they could be doing the right thing. And on the other side, they practise something over and over again and they could be doing the wrong thing.
One is then putting all their effort into learning something that is not moving them closer to what they want to achieve. Their actions are pushing them further away from what they want. But unless one knows that what they are doing it wrong, they are likely to carry on doing the same thing/s.
Digging Holes In The Wrong Places
It is a bit like digging holes in a field that contains gold. If one digs in the right places, they are going to get what they desire sooner rather than later. And yet, if one just digs anywhere and doesn’t find out where they are supposed to be digging, it is going to affect their progress.
There is the chance thay they might find what they are looking for but at the same time, they might not. They will dig plenty of holes and they might even get stronger, but that’s about as far as it will go.
The Wrong Thing
Doing the wrong thing over and over again will mean that one gets better at what they are doing, but if what they are doing is the wrong thing, then it won’t matter. They will simply become highly competent at doing something that is stopping them from moving forward.
What this means then, is that practice alone is not enough, one matters is that one does the right thing over and over again. When one does the wrong thing they are going to get into bad habits and end up wasting time. Instead of going in the right direction, they will be going in the wrong direction.
All the effort and energy that they have put in will then be in vain. So practice is not the key to perfection, perfect practice is.
When one is invested in what they are doing, it is not always easy to step back and reflect on what is taking place. This is why mentors and coaches are so important; as they can give one the feedback that they need to move forward.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.