Making Good, Better

I’m ruminating today about practicing the things that we are talented at and getting better than merely good. I’m wondering why we – mostly – don’t do that. When people are willing to put in the 10,000 hours (or whatever is necessary to master a skill), others are in awe.

Which leaves me wondering – what are the others doing? Have they not found the thing with the hook – the hook that is the sheer love for the activity (or its result) the hook that is the natural ability that makes the rate-of-skill-increase much faster for one person than another? Do they not recognize that hook? Or are – horrors – they just not interested in putting in the hours?

I like to work. I love to work on things that I’m good at.

For all of us, very much including me, the temptation is to scatter your abilities around instead of buckling down. Sometimes life does that to us. It scatters us. It requires you to spend so time on things that have to be done, the things that are beloved get shunted to the sidelines. And life gets in the way of finding that “hook” to the Needed Thing.

But when you have your thing, and you get to get good at it… it’s amazing. For me, it’s easy to slack off on the things I’m good at. But what if I pushed myself? What if I did the things I need to do, in order to get better at what I’m already good at? How good could I get?

To make the space for those hours of concentrated effort, first you have to clear the decks of the distractions. Second, you have to find a path of practice – you won’t get better without thoughtful practice. (Perfect practice makes perfect, imperfect practice does not). Third, you have to acknowledge that you’re good at this – but that “good enough” isn’t “good enough” for YOU.

And maybe it’s not good enough for God, either. Maybe we get all these gifts and we don’t invest them very seriously … because they’re gifts! We play with gifts… right? Maybe we should think of them as tools for doing kingdom work? Hm.

Something to think about. Are you ready to make what’s good – better?

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