There Is No Substitute for Practice
As a human being, I struggle with many things. One of my big struggles is with creativity. For many years, I felt that I was not a creative being. This sense of deficiency has been with me for most of my life and probably stems from art class in elementary or middle school where comparison was a constant teaching technique. However, later in life, I realized that there are different types of creativity. There is creativity in cooking, creativity in gardening, creativity in creating a presentation, and—yes—creativity in writing. Though I allowed myself to view the world this way, I still did not always feel that I was creative. I could think that I was creative, but I wasn’t feeling it. Recently, I took an e-course with Brené Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection. The e-course was completely centered on reconnecting with our creative selves. One piece of homework that I gave myself from that course was to set a goal of doing three creative things that were new and different for me by the end of 2014. I am happy to announce that I have accomplished my first creative goal! I wanted to make a calendar from all the wonderful photographs we took in Zambia. I had seen other people create such calendars but had never attempted this feat myself. It was terrific fun! I felt myself losing all track of time as I played with the photos and arranged them just the way I wanted them. Now, I can report that the calendar looks awesome, and I am so proud of myself.
Taking this time to play with my creativity was so enriching, inspiring, and—quite simply—enjoyable! So, one would think that it would be easy for me to continue my creative process and do something creative every week. Not so. This is a new habit that I am trying to cultivate. It’s like retraining my brain when meditating to focus on my breath as opposed to bombardment of meaningless thoughts that go racing through my brain like the scroll at the bottom of the CNN or ESPN channels. It takes practice. Focusing on my breath and taking time to be creative are not part of my regular repertoire YET! Hence, why I am so grateful for the opportunity to being again. Begin again is my way of saying when I fall off my path that I can start over. Every time I am practicing meditation and my mind wanders and I realize that my mind has wandered, I get the chance to reel it in and begin again to attempt to focus on my breath.
I often have clients who ask me why they are having such a difficult time remembering to use their new life coach tools. There is one easy answer for me. It is this. We have all lived many years operating in a certain way that has become second nature to us. I call this our default setting. This is how we are used to behaving, responding and thinking and we have done so for many years. To behave, respond and think differently requires one important factor: PRACTICE. It’s as simple as that. Whenever we learn anything new, we practice to obtain the new skill. When you first learned to ride a bike, you probably were not successful your first time. You may have used training wheels and had a parent or loved one who practiced with you a few times? When you learned to speak a foreign language, did you know everything day one or did you take French or another language for four years like I did where you practiced multiple times per week? Of course, now my French is terrible because I did not keep up with my practicing.
We as adults seem to think that we should be able to learn any new thing with ease. I don’t know why we think this because historically whenever we have learned anything new, it has always required some amount of practice. So, if you are learning something new for your job or you are trying a new recipe or you are trying to learn some new techniques that will help you de-stress your life and bring you more joy, remember to be patient with yourself and allow yourself the opportunity to practice.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he articulates the 10,000 hour rule. This rule suggests that one can find success when one practices for 10,000 hours. Whether one will achieve mastery of a skill or a career with 10,000 hours of practice is not the point. The point is that to learn anything and to bring into your normal repertoire requires practice and a lot of it.
I would like to share two books with you that I have recently read that I have truly appreciated. In some ways, they are very different and yet in many ways they both follow the classic hero’s journey.
Ralph Marston videos always offer a source of inspiration for me. I thought this one tied in perfectly with the subject of this e-newsletter. Enjoy!
I saw this quote when my partner and I were in New York last year. I thought it was fabulous; therefore, I wanted to share with all of you. The quote is by Lorraine Peterson.
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching