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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