Sunday, August 26, 2012

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Mindful Practice ...


We have all heard of the adage ‘practice makes perfect’ – but of course, when we think about it, we realize this to be a non-truth. Practice makes permanent – not perfect. I don't’ even like the improved version of the adage, which I used over the years, ‘Perfect practice makes perfect’ – now I simply ask student’s to engage in what I call to ‘ Mindful Practice’.
Mindful Practice requires that we completely abandon the idea of ever just ‘going through the motions’. We should be attentive to what we are doing – attentive to the smallest details – and make a habit of it. Attending to each training session as if it was our only opportunity to learn – as if it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – because it very often is!
I am not impressed when people say they have 30 years of experience under their belt – that alone is not enough to mean anything – it could for example, mean they have had one year of practice and twenty nine more years of repeating those behaviors they learned in that first year. In my mind – this is nowhere near as meaningful as thirty years of Mindful Practice – that is, each and every year, month – even day, trying to re-invent the way we understand what it is we are practicing. Thirty years of approaching each session with a completely open mind - with full mindfulness – now that is something worthwhile.
Imagine if Thomas Edison had repeated his light-bulb experiment exactly the same way 9000 times! Of course, he did not do that – he mindfully tried a different and novel approach each and every day, until he finally succeeded. And none of us have to look very far to see evidence of the success of his approach.
Mindful Practice – this is how we make gains – in almost every endeavor. JBW





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4 Comments

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Hi John, while this isn't strictly relevant to the post, the comment on edison and his light bulb got me thinking. I am not sure if you are much of a podcast guy, but I thought you would find this particular episode interesting (http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2010/nov/16/idea-time-come/) this blog discusses the concept "the inevitability of investion" as discussed by Kevin Kelly in his book "What Technology Wants". Edison gets a mention, but it is also mentioned that there were I believe about 30 patents put on light bulbs by other people at the same general time period. Interesting stuff. Anyway, hopefully see you soon.
Gerry Young

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Hi John, while this isn't strictly relevant to the post, the comment on edison and his light bulb got me thinking. I am not sure if you are much of a podcast guy, but I thought you would find this particular episode interesting (http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2010/nov/16/idea-time-come/) this blog discusses the concept "the inevitability of investion" as discussed by Kevin Kelly in his book "What Technology Wants". Edison gets a mention, but it is also mentioned that there were I believe about 30 patents put on light bulbs by other people at the same general time period. Interesting stuff. Anyway, hopefully see you soon.
Gerry Young

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Mindfulness, thoughtfulness, being aware, these are the skills we need to teach our children at home and in school. I try to be mindful, but find that it is not an easy every-day sort of thing, and that in and of itself, it takes practice. :)

Thank you for the food for thought!
Becky

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Mindfulness, thoughtfulness, awareness, these are all components of a whole person that should be taught both at home and in schools! I find it difficult to be always mindful and discovered that I need to...practice :)
Thank you for the food for thought!
Becky

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