Practice is both a verb, to practice a skill (a musical instrument, for example), and a noun, a life-practice (such as Yoga, Meditation, Music, etc.) that reinforces positive Life Rhythms… beneficial patterns of Attitude and Action. We reinforce both through repetition. Of course, we want to make sure that we’re repeating the things we want to get good at!
Here are four fundamental elements to build into our life-practices, and into our practicing, to make sure we are reinforcing our positive Life Rhythms… as individuals, and as groups:
1) Purpose: Have a clear vision of what you want to do. What are your short-, mid-, and long-term goals?
2) Plan: Create a routine of specific actions. Set regular days and times to engage in the activity, and know what you will do during each session. Your practice will become a regular part of your life, and something to look forward to!
3) Persevere: Keep to your Purpose and to your Plan. Every time we break a routine, it becomes easier to break it again, and to feel that we are unreliable… which makes it easier to break it again. Every time we stay with a productive routine, we reinforce a sense that we are dependable; this makes us want to live up to our dependable nature and engage in the activity again and again!
4) Play: Have fun… We call it “playing music” for a reason! Make any and all Practice time into Play time. As children, we learn by playing. As adults, we often forget to play because we now have responsibilities, and can feel that playing is wasting time. Keep playing to keep learning! When we are reinforcing skills, or learning knew ones, we know that we are “practicing”, but when we approach each session with an attitude of, “I’m going to play now”, we create a feeling of eager anticipation. This then reinforces a positive attitude that carries over when when play, at anything, in public or with friends. For example, I start every day by breathing deeply several times, giving thanks for all of my many Blessings, and telling myself, “I get to PLAY today!”. This is especially important when I know that some of my day will be spent “playing” in my office to get gigs so I can PLAY for, and with, other people!
Now go play… at something… anything!