Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Practicing Life

It's hard to believe that we're coming to the end of another calendar year. It seems like the days just fly by. When I was younger, each day seemed to stretch on forever. I remember having a hard time going to sleep without knowing what events were planned for the coming day. These days, it seems difficult to find the time to do all of the things that I WANT to do, while keeping up with the things I HAVE to do.

I realize that one of the most important things I can do with my time is to prioritize those things that really matter to me. I just finished reading a book called "Talent Is Overrated" by Geoff Colvin. In it, he explores what the determining factors are for excellence in any given field. What he finds is that regardless of any myths we have been told about being "born with a gift" in a particular area, without exception it is those individuals who put in countless hours of practice, research and study in a given field are the ones who rise to stardom and notoriety. But beyond just putting in the hours, the type of practice that these people do pushes them beyond their current abilities and outside of their existing comfort zone. They have to be willing to fail repeatedly in order to achieve their highest ambitions.

What would it be like if we applied this philosophy to our relationships? What if we had to go beyond what we knew we were capable of in order to communicate with and support the ones we love? Or what if we applied this same philosophy to the workplace? How many of us are willing to put ourselves out there for possible failure and rejection in order to stretch the boundaries of our professional life? How much time, effort and risk are we willing to put into these areas of huge consequence in our lives?

Perhaps the more important question is: what if we DON'T take the risks needed to become the best possible spouses, siblings, parents, creators, workers, human beings we can be? Is playing it safe really that safe in the long run? I encourage all of us to think about not just the time we are putting in, but also how much of our SELVES we are putting into our everyday activities. Perhaps we would be richer for the experience...

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. If you have something to add to the discussion, I invite you to comment on this post and let me know what you think.

For those of you on the East coast, I will be traveling to Connecticut in a couple of weeks and then to Boston at the end of January. Please check the tour dates below for more information. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

In song,



Jody said...

This is probably why a lot of people think I take great risks, I'm constantly believing in what I'm doing musically speaking. I occasionally reach out to do the same in a relationship usually to find that the other person isn't willing to put in the same risk when I want that risk.

For most people going outside of a comfort zone is too scary. That's generally where I find most of my comfort - doing that which is outside of my zone.

Todd Herzog said...

Perhaps staying within your comfort zone is more scary to you...? Is that an oxymoron? In any case, good luck with exploring the boundaries. =-)

barry said...

Haven't you observed an individual who (seemingly) is able to do great things without putting in all of the hard work. I'm not suggesting that any of us more "average" folks take such shortcuts, but I do suggest (without a lot of evidence, I suppose) that there are people who are blessed with great natural ability.
The notion of "risk" is poorly understood by most people. For example, can anyone in a relationship know with any specificity how much risk they are about to undertake in taking a particular course of action. Even in areas like medicine, when the risks are well known, people often pay little attention to the risk governing a dysfunctional behavior, such as obesity or lack of exercise. People just aren't rational at times.

Todd Herzog said...

I agree, Barry, that sometimes an individual seems to come out of the chute with less of a learning curve. I guess the point is that unless that initial talent is nurtured and a great amount of time is put into its development, that it will never reach its full potential. Thanks for your thoughts...