Do you practice?
Michael Jordan has always stood out out as someone who deeply understood the value of practice. He got great, not by constantly playing basketball, but by drilling, practicing and conditioning.
Here's an interesting video, if you didn't know much about Michael's interest in practice and strength conditioning.
How many of us can say that we practice much?
We want to get better at our work. But often we just continue to do work. We don't practice being better leaders or software developers or whatever it is we do.
Just like Michael didn't just become great by playing over and over again (his job), we can only get so good at something without some kind of practice.
Practice is something that allows us to fail. We can try new things. We can see what works and what doesn't and then improve.
When we continue to work without practice we often just do the same thing we were doing yesterday.
I was inspired to think a little deeper about practice, when I read Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind.
Even if you don't have a penchant for magic, this book is a fascinating look through the eyes of someone looking to propel his work to another level. And as he searches, one thing that we observe is how many of these folks become great through insane amounts of practice. Taking a deck of cards to the movies, fooling with coin tricks while eating dinner, arguing with a girlfriend while simultaneously practicing a trick, etc.
One bit I was introduced to that seemed incredibly practical and useful to dig into deeper for everyone reading this post, is a program called
Finger Fitness, developed by a former musician from Cincinnati named Greg Irwin. Finger Fitness, as I learned from Irwin’s training manuals, is like calisthenics for your hands. It consists of a series of movements—some of which, quite frankly, look hilarious—designed to isolate your hand muscles and increase strength, dexterity, finger independence, and overall range of motion.
There's musicians, magicians, even surgeons using this to make their hands better. And most relatedly, there's typists using this to strengthen their hands. I admit this does look a bit silly, and the age of the videos will definitely get you to giggle like me :) But this is something I'll look into more in order to improve one more aspect of my craft.
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