Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

What Should Practice Be?

No matter what you do — writing, programming, drawing, or anything physical — you need to practice. To learn. To improve. To try new things.

Practice is generally boring, though. It doesn’t have to be, but many people only go through the motions when they practice. They either unconsciously repeat the basics, or don’t put as much effort or heart as they should into what they’re doing.

And that’s the wrong way to practice. Sure, you need to review and refresh the basics. They’re the building blocks of anything that you do. Basics alone aren’t what practice is about.

Practice should be about pushing towards, and past, your boundaries. As someone once told me, when you practice you should let yourself go and not be afraid to look like a klutz. He was talking about martial arts, but could have been referring to anything. Practice is when you can try new things, and mix things up a bit.

When you practice, don’t be afraid to fall. Don’t be afraid to fail. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Look at what you did wrong and what you did right.

You also need to put yourself fully into your practice. If you only make half-hearted attempts at doing something, you won’t progress. You won’t improve. You’ll miss the point of practice: improvement. You don’t need to get better at something by leaps and bounds, though. Small, incremental improvements are just as good.

So, when you practice try to practice deliberately. Throw yourself into it, make some mistakes. But don’t forget to have fun.

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