Which would be the better way to learn to play guitar?
If you could only spare one hour per week, should you practice for one hour one day per week? Thirty minutes two days per week? Maybe every day for 8 minutes?
I’d say every day for 8 minutes.
Because if you picked up the guitar every day and played it for 8 minutes, you are more likely to start to identify as a guitar player.
And that is probably the biggest impact you can have in your learning. Because once something becomes part of your identity, it flows much more naturally.
You think of yourself differently. Which means you behave differently. And those behaviors become habits. Those thoughts build on each other.
The same thing would be true for other skills too, right?
Adjusting your identity
If you wrote a blog post every day, you’d think of yourself as a blogger. And if you thought of yourself as a blogger, you’d start to behave like a blogger. You’d start to see post ideas everywhere. You would feel it natural to share your thoughts and ideas with the world.
Let’s say you found a way to take some sort of small leadership action every day. You helped to organize a meeting. You initiated some conversation. You found ways to influence a decision.
Whatever those small actions might be, if you did them every day, pretty soon you’d think of yourself as a leader. And those actions would feel more and more normal to you.
Nothing to see here, just the same little things I do every day, because I’m a leader (or writer or diligent worker or creative thinker or good collaborator).
Practice the idea
Once you think of yourself as being something, you are more likely to practice it. And to do so more often.
More practice means you get better. Which means you strengthen the new twist on your identity.
The cycle builds on itself over and over again.
It might be true that practicing the idea of being something new or different might be more powerful than actually practicing the skill itself.
Maybe a better way to view that is to think about practicing the idea of what you want to become helps to make it happen. After all, that’s how mantras and affirmations work.
Practice doesn’t mean perfect
Practice doesn’t mean perfect. It means practice.
And the goal isn’t to become perfect anyway.
The goal is to keep learning and to keep growing. That’s why you keep practicing.
But most of us don’t practice. Because it’s hard. Or tedious. Or boring.
Or all of the above.
Unless we start to think about it differently. Because maybe we start to think about ourselves differently.
Maybe you can start to do some little thing differently today.