Last year, my husband took my daughter outside to teach her how to perform a layup. Over and over again, he instructed her how to lay up with her right hand. When she finally got it, he repeated the same process to teach her how to lay up with her left hand. My daughter became frustrated during those practice sessions and wanted to give up, but my husband would talk to her to encourage her, and she’d get back out there and practice again. After many practice sessions, he no longer had to tell her what to do; it became instinctive to her.
Our Pastor uses the same process to teach my daughter to play a particular song on the keyboard. He teaches her the chords; she plays it, comes home, forgets how to play it, and goes back to practice with Pastor, where he has to teach her again. The more he trains her, the more she gets it. She can now play the entire song.
I thought about these examples when I was inspired to write this post. I was thinking about all the times I, and many other people, gave up on something because it was too complex or because we didn’t want to practice. We gave up and never experienced the satisfaction my daughter experienced after finally learning how to perform a layup with the basketball or play a song on the keyboard.
If you want to improve at something, you have to practice:
Children work on their penmanship in elementary school to learn how to write.
Singers practice controlling their breathing and singing on key.
Bible study teachers study the Bible to prepare lessons for the class.
Chefs sharpen their skills to learn a new cooking technique.
Developers take classes to learn new software applications.
I’d love to interview Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James to determine how often they worked on layups, dunks, and free throws.
I wonder how often Beyoncé and Adele rehearsed a song before we heard it on the radio.
I’m sure Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie spend countless hours learning their lines for a movie.
All these people sacrificed their time practicing before attaining the level of success they’re now enjoying.
Yes, practice is required in every industry, but we need the tenacity to keep at it. We can’t lose focus or interest. We can’t give up if we want to move from being a novice or mediocre to being an expert at our craft or industry. And even after you’ve become an expert, never stop learning.
Here are a few simple tips to help you get more practice:
Set Aside Time
As stated above, regardless of your industry, you must practice. Set aside time each week to hone your gift. If you don’t set aside time to practice, it will show in your performance. I encourage my daughter to practice the keyboard for 30 minutes every day after school, even the songs she already knows how to play. So, practice…and when you think you’re good enough, practice again!
Read, read, read
Seek out the experts in your field. You should know the website, Facebook page, or Twitter accounts of at least five experts in your area and read their content. If they’ve written books, buy them or check them out from your local library. I read everything I can about blogging and writing.
We are blessed to live in an age where instructional videos are everywhere. YouTube is full of “how-to” videos. I’ve watched YouTube to learn how to create the smoky eye look, fold fitted sheets (I hate folding fitted sheets), and obtain the perfect wash-n-go.
Don’t be content with being average or mediocre. Challenge yourself to excel in your field. We can be excellent at everything we do, but excellence demands that we perfect our gifts. Don’t stop now. With just a bit more practice, you can become the go-to person for the next generation of learners.
What’s your gift or talent? Comment here explaining how you practice and how frequently you practice.