Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

What are you practicing today?

There was a day when most of us thought about "practice" in terms of free-throws, the oboe, or maybe a play.

But that's not the kind of practice we do typically, in grown-up adult-world. (Unless, of course, you're a professional basketball player, in a symphony orchestra, or an actor. Then these things still apply.)

Whatever we do, we still practice. We practice something.
Intentional or unintentional.

Intentional

Intentional practice is doing the things which make us better. On purpose. But, not getting better at just anything. We want to get better at the important things. The things we've assessed and dreamed about. The things we've concluded will move our careers, or increase the skills necessary to make beauty or create a life. Secure my family. Save the world. We must get better at the one unique contribution we have to give. The value-add. The contribution that makes the world a better place for everyone.

Writing words or designing a logo or understanding layers in PhotoShop. These kinds of things take careful, focused practice. It's the only path from what we're capable of doing to what we actually see in our heads. There is no other way except concentrated, daily, intentional practice. But, we get more capable with every day, every moment, of work. Because intentional practice is work.
Formulas on the spreadsheet.
Paint on the canvas.
Layers on the screen.
Mud on the wheel. Film in the camera.
Words on the page.
Butt in the chair.

This is how poets and artists and thinkers and problem-solvers and true leaders are made. There's no other path.

So.
What are you practicing today?
Because you are practicing something.
Intentional or unintentional.

Unintentional

You might get lucky. That one Instagram photo or post on Social could be your golden ticket. But probably not. It's a scary thought. But you may be practicing and getting better at all the wrong things. Unintentional practice is default mode. Doing what you feel and not what you decide. Unintentional practice makes you better at distraction and "multi-tasking" (which is not a thing). You improve your skills of snooze buttons and social media first thing in the morning. The ability to pull off low-level, get-by work on less sleep but with more screen-time late into the night. That's how we get really good at Netflix.
Snapchat.
Facebook.
Selfies.
Drama at work.
Griping and complaining.
Getting by.

Unintentional practice makes us very good at showing a face of success and happiness to the world. But it's a fake face. And the dissatisfaction of unfulfilled longings can drive a person into cyclical happenstance, as we get better at all the wrong things.

The only way out is to be on purpose. Try a lot of things. Find your thing. Do your thing. Every day.

How we spend our days is, indeed, how we spend our lives. And how we spend our moments is how we ultimately spend our days. Moments, days, and lives are each of limited quantity.

Spend them well.