How do you get better at something?

Well, practice is the obvious – and most popular answer. And it’s the right answer. We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect”. And if you’ve read Daniel Coyle’s Talent Code, you’ve heard the saying “perfect practice makes perfect.” A tad more accurate, and still true.

One of my favorite aphorisms was said by Woody Allen: “85 per cent of life is just showing up.” I love that, because it gives me courage to, well, keep showing up. In every area of my life.

I sent a good friend of mine this text yesterday:

If you want to get better at music, spend time with your instrument. If you want to get better with women, spend time with women. If you want to get in better shape, spend time with your body – quality time. There is a way to recover from any malady, solve any conundrum, conquer any fear. All it takes is showing up consistently.

If Showing Up is 85 per cent, than I believe Consistency is the other 15. Countless times, I’ve started a project or discipline with passion. Only a few of these have I actually followed through with. The hardest projects are the ones which require a lifetime of commitment – like playing jazz music, for example. Jazz, like biomedical engineering, requires a certain level of constant fine-tuning that can’t be had without an almost insane drive to keep coming back.

This may very well be the single most important thing that keeps anybody from Getting Better. In a world of Distraction and perilous strains on our attention, the one thing that can take us there also happens to be the one thing that is the hardest. This is why the thing where we’re experiencing the most “Resistance,” as Stephen Pressfield points out, is almost always the very thing we need to do. In fact, it’s the most important.

I’ll expand on this in tomorrow’s post, and hopefully shed some light on the importance of these telltale points of Resistance – using specific examples from my experience.

If any of this resonates, let me know… Thanks for reading!

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