I was recently visiting Kansas City and watching my 5 year old grandson, Jacob, play baseball (with 7 year olds) when a line drive was hit up the middle and Jacob leaped to his left, became parallel with the ground and made an amazing catch. The entire parent crowd on both sides let out an audible 'wow'.
After the catch, many parents came by Jacob's father and expressed their amazement at the catch. 'Such talent', 'I can't believe he caught that', etc.
He has pitched 100's of baseball games (not pitches, games). He has scored a thousand goals. It is what he does. He has separated himself from his peers based on his practice. Oh, by the way, did I mention that he is always the smallest player on the field? Makes no difference.
There is no substitute for experience. Not talent, not intuitive insight, not knowledge from a book.
And there is no substitute for practice. Your 'n' count for the number of times you've tested it, done it, researched it is almost everything.
It comes down to what you have done . . .over and over again. Ask Larry Bird and yes, Micheal Jordan. Both legendary men of practice.
What's the great old quote? 'Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes from bad decisions.' You betcha.
Are you talking? Talk from experience. Note your practice and decide if you should open you mouth.
Are you defining yourself professionally? Please do it from what you've done. Then seek to get as much practice at the things which give you energy and joy.
Malcolm Gladwell famously refers to an old study we had been referring to for years. As I remember it, its purpose was to find the predictors of professional success for Julliard violin students. After identifying and testing a myriad of variables, it was found that practice was the clearest and most dependable predictor. Those students who practiced some 6,000 hours became members of an orchestra; those who practice 8,000 hours might become the concert master (head the violin section); those who practiced 10,000 hours could have a solo career.
So the math for high performance is: do what Jacob does. You find the thing that gives you energy and joy and then you do it as many times as your resources and opportunities will allow you to do it.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I see many people in their 20's these days with a similar attitude. I refer to it as 'Young Man's disease" which, of course, is an omage to my own history.
However through the years, some important people have encouraged me to prize clarity over progress and over action. And for me, clarity takes time.
I can't overstate how many decisions I've made in my life where I've substituted desire for clarity or truth for clarity or guilt for clarity. All of those can be incredibly destructive in the wrong situation. And each tends to minimize or eliminate other important points of view.
And there is the danger. When one does not have the necessary professional or personal experience to make certain decisions or deal with challenging circumstances, one tends to substitute the natural confusion that can normally exists with ego, false confidence and defensiveness. And unfortuneately that leads to many minor disasters and some not so minor.
So the math here reads like this: Move too slow and it may cost you something, move too fast and it could cost you almost everything (paraphrasing Brant Bryan; yeah, I didn't listen to him). But if you want to know when to move, decide, take action, then you will have to cultivate a discipline which leads you to clarity; and this will take time.