Does practice really make perfekt?
First, a brief message to let you know that if you’re on the early announcement list for my January Ad Writing Workshop, my computer guy is working on putting up the information right now as we’re speaking. I didn’t finish the letter until late last night so it’s taken longer than expected, but you have my word you’ll be getting the secret e-mail message I told you about last night, sometime in the next few hours.
Now let’s get on with today’s deep thought…
Read an article in Fortune magazine quite some time ago, about what it takes to be great.
Not surprisingly, results of a British scientific study show that being greatness isn’t a result of any kind of genetic gifts, or even some kind of inherent talent (there are LOADS of talented broke and unsuccessful people), but the direct result of “painful and demanding hard work, performed over and over again over many years.”
In fact, the study shows that 10 years of “doing whatever it is you do” is a rough estimate of how long it takes to be great. And in many fields, like music and literature, top performers don’t hit their stride until 20 or even 30 years of experience.
What makes you great?
Well, the study shows that it’s more than just “practice,” it’s actually “deliberate practice,” and usually somewhere between 5 and 10 thousand hours of it. (Oddly enough, I recently calculated how many actual hours I’ve spent writing sales copy and creating emotional direct-response marketing campaigns, and it’s conservatively, a hair under 30,000.)
By the way, in case you’ve ever wondered, “deliberate practice” is one of the very serious side benefits of creating these daily tips. It’s like taking copywriting foul shots from the free-throw line.
But it’s easy to see how you can practice something like writing, basketball, or even managing people. But how do you practice some of the intangible business skills, like bidding or negotiating, or deciding whether or not to get into a certain project or when to quit, or interacting with people?
Well, the truth is, you can’t “practice” these things the same way you can practice shooting foul shots. However, there are two things you can incorporate into your mannerisms and your daily life, that do “count” towards your performance, the same way shooting baskets counts towards polishing your basketball skills.
One, of course, is your intensity and attitude about what you’re doing. Your satisfaction and performance is directly related to your intensity. The simple fact of life is that the more serious you are about something, the more you’re going to hold yourself accountable for your results. Which basically infers that if something’s not important to you — even if you do it well — you’re not likely to be very successful at it. (Refer back to my comment earlier about there being loads of talented unsuccessful folks – -this is one reason why.)
I’m a pretty intense person so I tend to be an all or nothing sort of guy, by nature. And yes, this is both a blessing and a curse.
The second thing you need to do, is to keep the vision of each separate thing you’re doing as part of your overall goal. Meaning, if you understand “the big picture” of what you’re looking to accomplish, it puts each component of this picture into a more deliberate perspective.
And see, there goes that word again, “deliberate.” You keep seeing it because greatness isn’t an accident, and it’s never a matter of circumstance. It’s a matter of design and specific performance.
Have a great weekend.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. Where do the Maverick Marketing Millionaires go for advice? Well, plenty of ’em go right here: http://www.kingofcopy.com/ssnl
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