Perfect practice makes perfect.
I’ve always wondered how mountain goats survive on terrains that would terrify humans and most other animals. They live on sheer cliffs and expertly leap and grab to move around in this treacherous terrain. That expertise is practically born into the species, as it has adapted to living that way. Repetition and the fact they have no choice allows them to thrive on sheer mountainsides.
Repetition is the the master teacher. I was driving April to Boston Logan this morning. I was thinking about how when we moved here four years ago a trip downtown or to the airport seemed like a dicey adventure. There’s no amount of driving in Kansas City that really prepares you for Boston traffic. Not knowing which lane to choose makes life harrowing.
Now we drive into Boston every morning to take April to work. We’ve been to Logan more times than I can count. The Drivers Ed video hilarity of what can pop out of nowhere on a Boston or Cambridge street has become commonplace. I’ve become a Boston driving mountain goat. What used to phase me is now just part of the fun.
You often hear sports announcers talk about the value of an athlete having been in a big situation before – the experience advantage. Think Tom Brady or Serena Williams. What a huge advantage they have over beginners on the biggest stages. Experience doesn’t guarantee victory or eliminate human mistakes, but there is something that gets into your DNA and gives you a huge mental advantage when you’ve achieved time and time again.
Power hack: Anything you want to get better at can be achieved by repetition. Talent and knowledge are plusses, but there’s no substitute for doing something and doing it often. Whatever your goal practice, practice, practice and perfecting that practice, as Vince Lombardi said, can push you to the highest levels.
The cost? You have to be willing to to try and to fail, maybe many times, to earn the experience repetition has to offer. I’ll return to a sports metaphor. Think how many young teams have to get to a championship game and lose to set the stage for their greatness. The next time they return, because of repetition, their talent can shine with the backing of experience.
So, whatever your goal or dream, start doing it. No matter how bad you are at first, keep at it. Soon you’ll be navigating the sheer cliffs and crazy streets of your chosen field like a pro.
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