If we want to improve at something, we can break that process down into two phases.
Practice and performance.
Practice is where we spend most of our time. It’s refining our skills, teaching ourselves what we need to know, learning the principles involved and the way to execute them. Performance is just the getting out there and doing it.
It’s fairly easy for us to imagine what a good performance looks like. We have a solid idea of the outcome we’re trying to create. We might not be able to pick up on all of the nuances but, in terms of the big picture, we are able to form something of a concept.
But what does practice look like? What should good quality practice look like?
We have a propensity to want things to look good in practice. But is a high level of success indicative of effectiveness? Is staying within our comfort zone really enabling us get better?
I don’t think so.
In order to really grow, we have to be willing to fail. The risks have to be real. The scenarios have to be as performance-like as possible. We can’t just do what we already know.
It’s cliché but progress really does begin at the edge of your comfort zone.
Next time you’re practicing, take the time to analyse what you’re doing. Are you doing what makes you feel good about yourself?
Or are you really pushing your boundaries?