The Process of Improvement


The sport of my youth was football.  From the age of nine to fourteen, I played Pop Warner football.  I rarely missed a practice and never missed a game.  I played in my yard with friends and regularly crafted plays in a notebook that was never far away. If asked in those days, I would surely have told you that I loved football, and after breathing it was the most important activity in my life.

Twenty-five to thirty years later, I can comfortably conclude that my efforts at improving and becoming a better football player were grossly insufficient and bordered on farcical.  I did not make the necessary efforts to improve my body, prepare my mind and develop my skills because that would have been uncomfortable.   I was comfortable in the security of being known as a football player.  In the end, it was more a social identification than a commitment to the process of improvement.

The process requires a fundemental insecurity that somebody, somewhere is outworking you.  A commitment to study your craft particularly the nuances of technique that build the skills that provide answers to the questions the craft asks of you.  A combination of patience and resolve that enables you to find peace in the long hours and repititions required of you.  A vision that sees with clarity what you are and what you will become. 

Talent is frequently used to describe genetic gifts of size, musculature and speed, or often to explain rather vaguely why someone is so much better than another.  Talent should encompass the attributes not so readily seen that enable a person to commit to the process of improvement.

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