Grit and perfect practice will elevate your game and make you better at anything. A few years ago, I was training for Ironman CourDAlene, and I wanted to do well. I spent countless hours biking, running and swimming. In fact, in the year leading to the race, I swam over 250,000 yards getting ready for the 2.4-mile open water swim. I swam a lot, but looking back I also realize that I put in a lot of “junk yards.” I kept a log of my swimming, and I would be really hard on myself if I miss one swim, sometimes I went to the pool, so I had the yards to log. Did I get fast? Not as fast I would have liked.
Fast forward one year later, after IMCDA. I signed up for another Ironman Triathlon, but I wasn't motivated to train, I was having a hard time focusing and putting the "time and effort" needed to get ready. Then I found Crossfit, and everything changed. I started training, not just working out, I was making conscious decisions about what to do, when to do it and why. I had a direction, and it worked.
Many times we want to get better at something, whether is writing, running, managing people, etc. Here are three things that will
To get better, you still need to practice
"No matter how good you are, you can always get better" - Jim Kouzes (The truth about leadership)
The 10,000-hour rule, a principle in the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, states that people need about 10,000 hours of practice to become world-class in any field. In other words, if you want to get good at writing you need to write if you want to get good at running you need to run and do it a lot. A controversial thought that has created a lot of discussions, but the principle is there; weather is 10,000 hours or 500, we still need to practice.
Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” - Wayne W. Dyer
A recent video by Ed.Ted.com, which adds a layer to the "practice a lot paradigm." A biological view of what happens to our bodies when we practice, but most importantly how practicing with a purpose makes the difference. We need to practice effectively to get better at something. In my case, I was putting the swimming time, but it was all "junk yards." Yes, I still needed to swim, but it wasn't how much I swam, it was about how focused I was and what purpose each practice had. Practicing with purpose, without distractions, and with long term goals are a few of the things we need to do to maximize the benefits.
You got to want it, bad
What do you want so much you can "taste it"? - Gary Ranker
It is easier to say practice a lot and practice with a purpose, but the first step is wanting it, and wanting it bad. How much you want it? Do you want it so bad that you can almost taste it?. And that is when grit comes in. It is the perfect combination of passion and perseverance. Passion and perseverance for the long haul and working hard to make that future a reality. Angela Lee Duckworth has a great TED talk regarding Grit. "The power of passion and perseverance," it is very enlightening.
Practicing with purpose and having the passion and persistence (aka grit) will make you better at pretty much anything you want to accomplish.
A year later, after I started training with focus, I clocked my fastest Ironman Event (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run) I went under 12 hours, for me, it was an improvement of over an hour.
What do you want so bad you can almost taste it? How are you practicing or preparing for it?