|photo credit: nickel.media via photopin cc|
In his best-selling book OutliersMalcolm Gladwell popularized the “theory of 10,000 hours,” the idea that it takes that much time practicing something to be truly great at it. Envision Michael Jordan training endlessly with trainer Tim Grover or Larry Bird shooting jumpers in a vacant gym long into the night. Think of Peyton Manning obsessively watching game film and absorbing every detail. Picture Bill Gates as a teenager programming away on a massive computer console, and Stephen King hammering away on a typewriter as the editor of his high school newspaper. Each of these men is known as being great in his field and each has far surpassed 10,000 hours practicing his respective crafts.
But practice is more than just skill development and working on specific abilities. At its core, practice is habit-development and the forming of instincts. The goal of practice is to become natural at something, to excel at it without great effort or focused thought. Practice is working toward learning a second nature.
To think of practice in this manner moves it beyond the realm of gymnasiums and classrooms. Instead, all of life is practice. We are always forming habits and honing, or dulling, instincts. Every day we are practicing interactions and attitude control (or lack thereof).
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