Dictionary.com defines practice like so: “repeated performance or systematic exercise with the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency.” So you mean to tell me, Dr. Dictionary, that just through repeated performance and systematic exercise I can acquire a skill? Amazing!
“Practice makes perfect” is an ancient saying that I don’t fully agree with, yet it’s principle is profound. Let’s change it to “Practice makes better” and then discover how awesome this idea really is.
If you want to get better at anything, practice! Or, if you want to experience anything more fully, practice! If you want to become a better basketball player, go play basketball, or even just imagine yourself playing basketball very well, and that will improve your skills. If you want to experience greater Peace, practice Peace.
What would practicing Peace look like? That’s up for you to decide.
Practice, practice, practice. Through repeated performance, we possess the capacity to improve in any skill we can imagine. To really appreciate this truth, it’s important to remember that every single thing we do is essentially the expression of a skill. Whether we are talking with people, walking, breathing, enjoying our food, finding humor in any situation, empathizing with another, or happily flowing through the day in a spirit of joy and harmony – these are all skills.
If you can answer the question, “What do you really want most in life?” then you can easily identify skills that will empower you in acquiring your desires. I personally would love to teach yoga, meditation, and simple, sustainable, spiritual living, catalyzing the growth of healthier and happier communities . Having identified the main desire as one of teaching, then I can ask, what are the critical skills for great teachers? Asking a question is a great way to receive an answer 😉
If it’s not immediately clear what skills would empower you to have that which you desire, you can also look to role models who have already attained what you seek, and learn from them. Going back to the teaching example, I can look to people in my life who I consider great teachers and identify their strengths. Thinking back on some of my favorite teachers, they were all masterful communicators. I remember the physical movement of their bodies being almost as important as their words for conveying the message. Of course, one my teachers who didn’t move very much had an incredible sense of humor and referenced an absurd amount of pop-culture to keep students engaged. Perhaps the key, then, to great teaching, is identifying your own style of communication and owning it.
Whatever you want in life, likely someone has achieved it before you. If you want to make a billionaire dollars, study billionaires and practice the commonalities you find between them. If you want a mass following, study Gandhi, Barack Obama, or Oprah, and see what makes them such compelling figures. If you are looking for more Peace and Happiness in life, I hear the Dalai Lama hardly ever stops laughing, so maybe study his example. If you’d like to attract an abundance of devilishly attractive women, there is plenty to learn from Hugh Hefner.
Whatever it is you seek, look the great ones who have come before you, learn from them, and practice the principles which they preach. Surely, anything you want, there is a skill you can learn to greatly increase your ability to acquire what you seek. A spoonful of humility might help in mustering the courage to look to others as an example and make a few changes to your life. Of course, if you truly want something, any change you make to acquire it is definitely worth it.
Time to start practicing!