What is it?
The mindful version of your good old practice.
Why should you care?
To get most out of the time and energy spent practicing.
Rather, to continue getting most out of the energy and time spent.
Example: You learned most things about driving a car in the first year. Now in twenty years of driving around town has sure given you a few skills that you are proud of, but any kid driving for a year can match your skills.
It doesn’t seem to bother you.
But it does when I replace driving with what you do for a living or what you are passionate about or what you wanted to be the best at.
Then why don’t we all do it naturally?
Because it requires consistent efforts — and we are designed to take the path of least resistance.
The brain tries to help us by getting better and almost automating the task — so that we can move to the next level, but we forget to move to the next level and get comfortable repeating what we learned years ago.
How to do it?
The next time you go to practice — try to find your limits and try pushing them a bit. Stay present, physically as well as mentally.
As mentioned at Farman Street:
Repetition inside the comfort zone does not equal practice. Deliberate practice requires that you should be operating in the learning zone and you should be repeating the activity a lot with feedback.
From the life of Ben Franklin. (source: Farman Street)
As a teenager Ben received a letter from his father saying his writing was inferior: “in elegance of expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances,” as Franklin recalled
“Ben responded to his father’s observations in several ways. First, he found examples of prose clearly superior to anything he could produce, a bound volume of the Spectator, the great English periodical written by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele. Any of us might have done something similar. But Franklin then embarked on a remarkable program that few of us would have ever thought of.
It began with his reading a Spectator article and marking brief notes on the meaning of each sentence; a few days later he would take up the notes and try to express the meaning of each sentence in his own words. When done, he compared his essay with the original, “discovered some of my faults, and corrected them.
One of the faults he noticed was his poor vocabulary. What could he do about that? He realized that writing poetry required an extensive “stock of words” because he might need to express any given meaning in many different ways depending on the demands of rhyme or meter. So he would rewrite Spectator essays in verse. …
Franklin realized also that a key element of a good essay is its organization, so he developed a method to work on that. He would again make short notes on each sentence in an essay, but would write each note on a separate slip of paper. He would then mix up the notes and set them aside for weeks, until he had forgotten the essay. At that point he would try to put the notes in their correct order, attempt to write the essay, and then compare it with the original; again, he “discovered many faults and amended them.”