The Mystery of Practice
The following article, somewhat revised, is from one of my first newsletters back in 1999. It is still one of my favorites. Enjoy.
For my 40th birthday (yikes! That was 14 years ago.), I gave myself voice lessons. It was a rude awakening. I had always loved to sing, and now I discovered that I couldn't open my mouth properly, articulate vowels correctly, or make my tongue lie at the bottom of my mouth. I wanted to quit.
Fortunately I didn't, and that is how I realized the mystery of practice. I had always thought that practice meant repeating something correctly. (I used to believe that I was not competitive, but then I realize that it's just that I avoid things I can't do well.)
It is humbling to encounter one's limitations on a daily basis. Fortunately, it is not fatal. Bit by but I became more present when practicing, if only because there was no benefit in looking at my past performance (mediocre) or anticipating future progress (entirely theoretical). With no alternative, I practiced for the sake of practicing.
Eventually, my vowels emerged with some clarity and -- wonder of wonders -- my tongue began to obey. But best of all, I had learned to practice without knowing if I could succeed. In fact, I learned that letting go of the results was the secret to improvement.
What can you practice today that you are not already a master of?
This article originally appeared in the Authentic Promotion e-zine and is reprinted with permission from the author. Molly Gordon is president of Shaboom Inc., a coaching and training company that delivers hope, help, and hilarity to Accidental Entrepreneurs so that they can build a business that fits just-right. For more information, visit http://www.shaboominc.com. Copyright 2007, Shaboom Inc. All rights reserved.See more posts here on Molly's site.
In light of the fact I've been practising the 2 hour paintings, this article seemed extremely appropriate!