Saturday, July 14, 2018

Three Reasons You should Quit Practicing

It does not matter what game of life you want to play - artist, athlete, or entrepreneur, do not miss your destiny by procrastinating because you want to learn more. Instead of practicing, just start doing it - whatever "it" is for you.

In high-school, I was an average athlete, playing baseball and football. My coaches told me I could be better if I practiced harder. But I wasn't so sure. I hated to practice, it was boring. Once in the game, I became a dynamo.

1. Practicing is boring and lonely work. 

Practice is boring - the excitement is in playing the game. The excitement comes from competing against another person, or against an established standard. As kids, we put marks on the wall to record our height, then each time we grew another inch we were ecstatic.

For over fifty years I have been an avid golfer. While not great, I managed to stay in the top ten percent of all golfers in America. This was not a result of what most people would call practice. I did not spend hours on the driving range hitting buckets of balls - every time I did that the results were disastrous. I learned to play - and improved - by actually playing.

2. Practice can ruin your game."

Practice will ingrain your bad habits. As a high-school freshman, I was injured playing football and could not practice, but I played every game. Prior
to each game, the assistant couch wrapped my back with adhesive tape from my shoulder blades to my butt. For the rest of my life, this injury has reappeared. A chiropractor in Shreveport prescribed a regimen of fifty swings of my driver every day. Up until that point, driving the golf ball was the best part of my game. After two weeks of fifty swings a day, my ability to drive a golf ball was destroyed. After 1,400 swings, I had grooved in a severe twitch that would manifest itself at the most inappropriate times on the course.

Practice does not make perfect. It does make consistent. Sometimes consistently bad.

3. Practice keeps you from playing your game.

Practice will often keep you from actually playing the game or starting your project. Too many people avoid starting until they know they can do something, so they practice, practice, and practice but never begin. You can watch Youtube videos on how to ride a bike, you can read books about riding, go to the bike shop and sit on a bike, and you can watch your friends ride, but you will never learn to ride until you get on the bike and try not to fall. 

In the 1990's Virginia Postrel wrote a great book, The Future and Its Enemies. The author noted that there are two competing forces she called Dynamism and Stasism. The dynamists are spontaneous and go through life with wild abandon. They make mistakes, learn from their mistakes, correct them and make awesome progress. Stasists want to be in control so they establish rules to control progress. It seems that stasists are fearful of making mistakes so they attempt to eliminate errors. Progress therefore becomes stymied. Postrel uses the internet as a prime example. It was created by dynamists without controls. As a result, it grew without control and was awesomely effective, but resulted in the spread of pornography, FaceBook, E-Bay, and abuse of personal information. The stasists still want to take control.

Instead of practicing, just start doing it - whatever "it" is for you.

Today, many would be authors, artists, and entrepreneurs are spending their time practicing when they should be getting into the game. Fear of failure causes us to spend to much time practicing. As a result, we never get to play the game.

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