Mike Glenn of Most Things Take Practice

Image: Photo by Scott Gruber on Unsplash
Image: Photo by Scott Gruber on Unsplash

For some reason, most of us are born with this faulty understanding of excellence. We think that if we’re going to be really good at something it should come naturally. We should be able to sing, play an instrument, go pro in our favorite sport, and we should be able to do it without any effort at all.

That’s because most of us experience the final product. We go to a concert and see our favorite guitar player shred their instrument for an ear-splitting hour concert. We go to a jazz concert and see a world-famous pianist seemingly make up the song right in front of us. We see a professional basketball player shoot three-point shots without any effort and we say we could do that.

No, we can’t.

In fact, we can’t play the piano, guitar, basketball, write, shoot videos, workout, play golf, tennis, chess, sing, or anything else we say we want to do because we’ve all been taken in by the popular myth that if you’re good at something, it should just come naturally.

What we don’t understand is how many hours — how many years — each of these individuals have put into the perfection of the craft. Malcolm Gladwell suggested it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. I’m beginning to think he underestimated what it takes. When I talk to some Nashville musicians and mention Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, they’ll wince and say, “more like your whole life. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else.”

To get good at something takes our whole lives. To get good at ANYTHING takes our whole lives.

Nothing comes naturally. Think about it. Human beings are helpless when we are born. We can’t feed ourselves, clothe ourselves or protect ourselves in any way. Without loving care, human babies die. We have to learn everything about what it means to be human. We have to learn to walk, talk, think, pay attention, eat, go to the bathroom. Nothing can be overlooked. Everything has to be learned.

Learning means practice and practice means failure. We try to walk, and then, we fall down. We get up again and walk until we fall down again. Success in walking means extending the time between our falls.

That’s it, isn’t it? Success is extending the time between our falls.

This is why most of us never get better at things that are important to us. We see failure as defeat. We try. We fail. Then, we give up. We take piano lessons, and when we start sounding clumsy in the fingering exercises, we say we don’t have the gift for music, and we quit trying. The old saying is right. No one is defeated until they quit trying.

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Source: Christianity Today