Recipe for Improvement
If you are like me, then you want to be the best at whatever you do. A majority of people in this world will shy away form anything they aren’t good at. Personally, I try not to be this type of person. However, a good example of me being that person is my high school days. I enjoyed playing recreational sports growing up, but never really evolved to the “travel” teams, or played in high school. I was afraid. So naturally, I did everything else….
Stuff that I knew I was good at.
This is the type of mindset that will automatically set you back. It is a mindset that unfortunately in the situation I just described, can creep up on us. It also becomes so comforting that we can naturally tend to default to it. Let me provide my first example to the point of this blog.
Let me go back to middle school/high school sports for a moment. If you played a sport growing up, besides equipment, (and technically attendance) what is the one thing that is absolutely mandatory? Practice. Maybe not all of us practiced individually, but we all had to be there for the practice the coach sponsors; whether it was every day, three times a week, or once a week, we were there.
Now I know what you’re thinking…
This dude just told me that the “Secret To Improvement” is to practice. How “groundbreaking.” Wrong.
Let me expand on this example. When you go to practice, you are actively participating in the process of “improvement.” But is it truly repetition that will drive your improvement? Perhaps repetition will afford you comfortability… but is that truly making you better? Hint: not entirely.
What is truly making you better is in fact the practice. But the main part of the practice that leads to improvement is the acknowledgement of failure, and the realization of the mistakes made. This then leads to remedying the problem at hand, and bada bing bada boom we’re in business.
My Golf Story
My old man loves golf. Personally, I don’t have the patience. However, one summer I humored him and took some lessons. Getting some shots in at the driving range, I noticed that my drives would always go slightly right. So naturally, I started to aim left. What happened next? My drives went straight. Would repetition help me in this case? Well, if I kept doing it wrong, no – I would have kept hitting it straight into the forest to my right every time. It was the active process of understanding the problem, and acting accordingly, that caused the improvement to happen.
If you’re looking for the recipe to success, here it is. Practice is absolutely what makes you better; but it is how you practice that determines how much you will improve. No matter what facet in life you are applying this to, follow these simple steps. First, act (practice). Second, understand the problem or area of improvement. Last but not least, change something and test the waters.
The solution won’t always be simple. Sometimes, it may take trial and error multiple times, over a long span of time. In my case, the answer was easy. Just remember, the way to improve is to actively think about how you can do things better. Can you conserve resources in any part of the process? Can we limit costs? Or how do we solve the problem?
It is only by actively tackling the problems that we consciously find ways to improve.
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