If a person can never get engaged with really enjoying and seeing that the difference between greatness and people who are just good is you’ve got a find way to enjoy the process. The process driven person is the difference between the Jerry Rice’s of the world and the people who wash out of the NFL within a few years. — Todd Herman via Dispelling Myths of Success and Goal Setting
Everybody wants to become a master, but few want to endure the pain, the work, and the process that is required for such an outcome. But it’s in the process where almost all the work actually happens. It’s where the majority of your time will be spent if you intend to master anything. Moments in the spotlight, accolades, and fame are fleeting. You might be big news for week or month, and then everybody will be back to their lives. Public attention and admiration are a fickle currency, and to depend on them for our well being and happiness, as Ryan Holiday once said to me is “a recipe for profound disappointment.”
If your goal is mastery, whether you’re an author, musician, athlete, or speaker, you will practice far more than you perform.
The idea that practice matters so much was instilled into me at a very young age by my band director. There were 2 auditions for the Texas All-State Band
- All region
- All area
To prepare for those auditions, you had to put in 100’s of hours of practice. You practiced far more than you performed. The auditions, the concerts, and moments on stage were small fractions of a much larger process.
The only way you could succeed at this was to fall in love with the process, to practice every day. It’s a lesson that was drilled into me over and over in the 9 years I played the Tuba.
A band might play 50 shows as part of a tour. But they might rehearse more than 500 times to prepare for those 50 shows. Their practice fuels their performance.
Athletes practice far more than they perform.
Olympians practice for something that occurs once every 4 years. And in some cases, the performance doesn’t last more than a few minutes.
In the NBA, NFL or any major league sport, the time spent on practice far exceeds the amount of time spent playing the actual game.
To prepare for writing 1 traditionally published book, it took a consistent practice of 1000 words a day and more than a million words over the course of 5 years. I’ve practiced much more than I’ve performed. As I’ve said before prolific writing is a practice. Like an athlete who trains to stay in shape for playing his sport, a writing practice allows me to stay in shape for writing books. One of my friends asked me what I was planning to do the morning of my book launch. I said “I’m going to do what I do every day. I’m going to wake up and write 1000 words. It’s business as usual.”
Practice, the decision to focus on the process instead of the prize is one of our greatest competitive advantages.
- We control the time, effort, and energy we will dedicate to our practice.
- We control whether we outwork the people around us.
You will practice far more than you perform. Therefore you should take your practice just as seriously as you take your performance.
Before You Go…
If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.”
The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.
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