Practice Is The Only Way To Accomplish Your Creative Goal

practicing the piano
As much as I’ve written about creativity, I think I’ve likely written less about this topic than I should have. Practice is that love-hate relationship we have with any skill we plan on tackling.

It is unavoidable, completely necessary, and either fun or a miserable wall to scale. Largely, I think the reason for this is two-fold. First, adults learn the things we know a little each day over long periods of time. We simply become better by doing a task over and over, the repetitious life being led. No one is born a brick-layer or a mathematician. You can come to enjoy any vocation, but it is the doing of that choice you have which builds experience into a real skill.

Second, though, is that thing we either need or want to learn, but we need it or want it fast. So we want to force or speed up the process. Instead of taking years to properly acquire a skill, we want it now! As in, you need a license or certification for your work and you know you have to have it, but it’s not all that important to you. So you have to study, which is basically what practice is. You have to apply yourself without enthusiasm and it is dreadful. But there’s also wanting to learn how to play an instrument, or learn a new language. These things you likely really want to do, but oddly the practice can be just as dreadful.

The reason for this is as adults especially, we want the fish without going fishing! We want the glory without the fight! All of that stuff is for work and you want this to be fun! Painting a great painting should be fun you may tell yourself and this should be 100% fun! Why isn’t it? Well, because it is often hard, especially when you are forcing it. You want to be great now!!

Listen, practice unfortunately or not, has to be thought of like a long driving journey to see the Grand Canyon. You know the end of the journey is going to bring something epic. You know you want it, but you can’t just snap your fingers and get there. So how can you make the journey, the practice, as pleasurable as possible? Well, let’s say your trip is going to be 2000 miles. Do not look at it as 2000 miles. Instead, segment your trip into a bunch of small trips to see places or things of interest along the way. This way you get fun out of the journey too.

With a creative skill, you should take or make your journey the same way. Don’t just drive 500 miles each day and stay in a hotel, only to drive another 500 miles. Drive 500 miles one day to a place to see, then another place and another place. With learning a skill, allow your practice to take you to a place of joy. Practice is only dreadful when you think of it as a process of years to accomplish anything. Instead, it should give you a goal to achieve monthly or several times a year. Allow yourself to see yourself progressing. Make that a joy and one day all this joy will add up to a skill that you will have proud fully and joyfully learned.

The alternative for many is to instead, dislike and give up. That’s not you! Go for it and let practice be your partner in accomplishing a fun goal.

 

Live an artful life,

Tom

 

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