The secret to life is practice, practice, practice. If you want to get good at something, all it requires is for you to keep at it and practice! No matter if it involves playing an instrument, dancing, sports, flexibility, or even SEX, consistent practice is the key.
[Perfect] Practice Makes Perfect
Practice doesn’t help if you’re making the same mistakes over and over. If you keep that up, the mistakes become a habitual part of the practice and you will be, literally, learning how to do it the wrong way.
Let’s say you’re trying to figure out how to transition smoothly in a yoga sequence. It’s better you go through the transitions slowly and with perfection rather than quickly and sloppily. When you take your time to flow perfectly, you will figure it out much faster than rushing through it and making the same mistake over and over.
If you’re playing the piano (or any other instrument) and you always keep messing up during a specific measure of a song, slow down and focus on hitting the notes in perfect sequence rather than just rushing through it.
Be Deliberate in your Perfect Practice
The difference between an expert performer and a “normal” one is not necessarily talent. How good one becomes at a skill has more to do with how one practices than with merely performing the skill repeatedly. An expert breaks down the skills required to be get to the goal and focuses on improving those skills in chunks. They’re what I call, baby steps, and with baby steps, you could climb any mountain.
Two examples of deliberately finding the breakthrough moment…
I kept trying to do this move on the right to help bring my feet all the way forward from down-ward dog. I kept coming up way short every single time. After a couple days I realized I’m not bringing my hips up high enough because it feels scary to be completely upside down and I don’t want to fall over the other side. So I deliberately pushed off with too much power and forced myself into the precarious position to see what that would feel like. In that moment I was able to hold the balance for a split second and then fell forward, as expected. That helped me understand how that feels and what this move is really going to require of me to find the balance. I learned more in that one deliberate push than in the previous days of doing the same thing over and over. And the smile on my face was massive.
When I first started learning how to walk on a slackline, I realized that when I’d fall, I would always abandon ship to the right and never the left. That clued me in to try something new: Deliberately fall to the left. And when I did that, it was totally different and helped engage new muscles that were somewhat asleep. It ultimately helped me figure out how to stay in center all the better.
So instead of just mindlessly practicing and doing the same thing wrong over and over, try doing it faster, slower, higher, lower: Anything you need to find that breakthrough moment. This advice can be applied not just to instruments or fitness or video games but symbolically to your entire life practice.
Hope that helps!