Their performance comes so naturally that, as you watch you think, “I could do that.” Whiney Houston opens her lips, amazing music comes out. Michael Jordan goes in for a layup, jumps from the 3-point line and soars through the air to the basket. Those who are genuinely world class have this way of making what they do seem effortless.
Behind every world class artist, athlete, craftsman or scholar is hours of practice. After thousands of missed shots Michael Jordan makes history. Before the Beatles break out they spend every night for a year playing the night club scene in Amsterdam.
Malcolm Gladwell says the difference between average and world class is 10,000 hours of practice. In his book, “Outliers” he quotes a long time study of violinists. They tracked the progress of a group of violinists. Some were more talented than others. Some had better opportunities. But the real difference between those who ended their ‘career’ as a hobbyist or a professionally paid musician – practice. 10,000 hours of practice.
Opportunity may provide a door. Talent may get you in, but practice will keep you there and take you places you never imagined.
The Practice Principle applies to everything we do. Apart from breathing there are very few things we get right the first time, every time, without thought or rehearsal. You can practice having a good marriage. You can practice your faith. You can practice being a good leader. You can practice creativity. You can practice being a good dad. Doctor’s practice medicine, which is unfortunate because I don’t want my surgeon to ‘practice’ on me. I want him to get it right.
Practice is what separates artists from amateurs. How you practice and what you practice determines your level of success.
What areas of your life need practice today? Is your marriage struggling? Learn from the struggle. Practice being the person your spouse always dreamed of. Is business stagnant? Stop doing all the same things, all the same ways. Change your practice and discover a new method for opening new markets and increasing existing ones. How is your spiritual life? Are your prayers more of an emergency phone call in times of trouble? Is your understanding of Scripture limited to John 3:16? Practice praying, reading His Word. Practice decision making based on godly principles rather than the automatic assumptions of the day.
Practice is the place where we work on smoothing out the rough edges. It’s the place where mistakes lead to breakthroughs that allow us to go farther than we ever imagined possible.
Today, you will practice something. What you practice and how you practice will determine if tomorrow will be world class or not.
1 John 3:7, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”