Lion’s Den Blog – Sustaining Progress
‘Embrace Repetition, Cultivate Grit, and Keep Big Goals Secret’
Developing talent is like taking a cross-country hike. You will encounter challenges; you will hit snags, plateaus and steep paths; motivation will ebb and flow. To sustain progress, it’s necessary to be flexible one moment and stubborn the next, to deal with immediate obstacles while staying focused on the horizon: in short, to be a resourceful traveler. What’s ahead in this article is meant to give you a few tools for the journey.
1) EMBRACE REPETITION
Repetition has a bad reputation. We tend to think of it as dull and uninspiring. But this perception is titanically wrong. Repetition is the single most powerful lever we have to improve our skills, because it uses the built-in mechanism for making the wires of our brains faster and more accurate.
When U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 mounted its May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, it prepared by constructing full-scale replicas of the compound in North Carolina and Nevada, and rehearsing for three weeks. Dozens of times the SEALs simulated the operation. Dozens of times, they created various conditions they might encounter. (soccer terms – training the behavior) They used the power of repetition to build the circuitry needed for the job.
Another example: Moe Norman was a shy Canadian who played briefly on the professional golf tour in the 1960s and ‘70s. He was also, in most estimations, the most accurate golfer in history. Norman shot seventeen holes in one!, three scores of 59, and in Tiger Wood’s estimation, ranked as one of two golfers in history who “owned their swing” (the other was Ben Hogan). Norman was also a likely autistic who, at a young age, became enraptured by the power of repetition. (Similar to Cristiano Ronald & David Beckham with Free-Kicks) From the age of sixteen onward, Norman hit eight hundred to a thousand balls a day, five days a week; calluses grew so thick on his hands he had to pare them with a knife. Because of his emotional struggles, Norman had difficulty competing in tournaments. But at a demonstration in 1995, he hit 1500 drives in a row, all of them landing within fifteen yards of each other. As Woods put it, Norman “woke up every day and knew he was going to hit it well. Every day. It’s frightening how straight he hits it.”
Embracing repetition means changing your mindset; instead of viewing it as a chore, view it as your most powerful tool. As a martial artist and actor Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten-thousand times.”
“Stay Tuned more to come!”