If you want to shift a behavior, practice. If you want to grow in skill, practice. If you want to find stillness and space, practice. If you want to grow, practice. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, unsteady, challenging, non-linear, and exacerbating—but we take small steps forward towards mastery.
If we want to move towards mastery of anything in our lives, we must practice. If we think of great athletes—Gretzky, Federer, Rice, Biles, Williams, Jordan—with all their talent, all their ability, they all train(ed) hard. They practice, over and over. There is a wonderful documentary, In Search of Greatness (2018) that highlights a few of these impressive athletes. Talking with Gretzky and Rice, both emphasize a drive to practice, to improve, to be better—to DO the work. The work in the small moments, running the same play over and over, the moments no one sees, which leads to the moments we might comment as looking “easy.”
But this isn’t just about athletes. In the book Altered Traits, by Goleman and Davidson, the authors examined the science around meditation, the impact on the brain and trait characteristics. In order to maintain change, even great monks and yogis, continue to practice watching the mind and the breath. There isn’t a point on their journey where they say, “yeah, I’ve got this, I don’t need practice any longer.” Practice sustains. Practice transforms.
We must be humble and acknowledge that no matter how “good” we get at anything, there isn’t a moment where we are so perfect we no longer need practice. We can practice contentment and still desire growth. We can experience wellbeing, and with self compassion see where there is space for transformation. Let’s embrace that we are always in an opportunity to train, as sure as change is a constant, everything we do is practice—how we want to show up as human beings, the choices we make, the actions we take, what we choose to grow. It is there in the moments no one sees, it is in the small steps, it is in our intentions, our words, our deeds. What are YOU practicing this week?