Practice: 7 Keys to Success

Trial 1: “Practice makes perfect.”

Measure results.

Assess results against intention.

Trial 2: “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

This lesson is a reminder that all new techniques must be practiced before they become reliable skills.

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”

–Saadi Shirazi

Sadi Shirazi Attributed to Govardhan - newsdesk.si.edu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5765856
Sadi Shirazi in a rose garden

If you are fortunate, you will succeed on the first try.

If you are human, and if you are operating at your potential, the results of your first attempts may not meet your highest aspirations.

“Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.”

–Mike Ditka

Mike Ditka By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry - http://www.navy.mil/view_image.asp?id=38816, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1458712 060831-N-1805P-007 CLEVELAND (Aug. 31, 2006) - Sailors from amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) were welcomed by legendary football coach Mike Ditka in the press booth during a National Football League pre-season game between the Browns and Chicago Bears. The Sailors are in their ship's namesake town for Cleveland Navy Week, which runs Aug. 28-Sep. 4, arranged by the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO). Navy Weeks are coordinated by NAVCO along with local Navy Recruiting District offices, Navy Operational Support Centers and other local Navy commands and civilian partner organizations with an interest in advancing awareness in major metropolitan areas with traditionally limited exposure to the Navy. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry (RELEASED)
Mike Ditka

7 Keys to Success

  1. Have fun. Don’t get upset over any failure or setback. Sustain a spirit of adventure and inquiry. Excessive stress, including pressure to learn or perform (even if it’s just perceived or imaginary pressure), reduces learning effectiveness.
  2. Consider all first efforts a pilot, like an experiment.
  3. Foster a generous, kind, helpful, continuous improvement mindset in yourself, and in all members of your team.
  4. Practice with intention and expectation to improve. Stick to it and you will see results!
  5. Measure results. Don’t guess or assume learning or mastery is occurring. Verify, validate, and check in with the facts to see what’s working and what isn’t, and make adjustments as necessary.
  6. After early attempts and failed attempts, do a retrospective and find what elements worked, as well as those that did not.
  7. After the retrospective, create a new Plan. In the new plan, keep the things that worked, and adjust the things that didn’t. Then make another attempt. (Go back to “Trial 1” above).

“The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts for people who are trying to excel, who have dreams, who want to do things. Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”

–Will Smith

By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50368808
Will Smith

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

–J.K. Rowling

By Daniel Ogren, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15164977
J.K. Rowling

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