First, what is a practice? It can be a variety of things from playing guitar all the way to skydiving. It is not something that you can simply pick up in a book and blindly select. Well, you can but you will surely fail at working toward mastering it. A practice needs to be something you love doing a passion, a purpose, or, a calling if you will. It needs to speak towards what your deepest values and loves are.
For example, Doctors spanning across all fields call their place of work a practice. This is where they are doing the things they love every day, helping others, saving others, and constantly learning because every single situation is different. They need to be able to adjust their skills to fit every single patient that walks through the door.
The most common “practice” I can think of would be those that are students of any martial art. The dojo is they place of practice and the activities that go on inside the dojo are the practices themselves. Learning to master the art takes time, and commitment and it will take both for you to master your own practice.
It does not matter what you want to do in life. As long as you find your true calling no one can judge it and you yourself can master it. It will take you developing your own practice. There are steps that need to be taking in order to start a practice.
Time to grow up.
We will go over some character improvements that must be done before you can even start your practice. We are looking to improve our lives and we must start with ourselves before we can affect those around us.
Find your calling
Have you found what your true calling is? Have you made the decision that this is what you want to do and strive for from this point forward? Is it something that is a part of you? Ya, these are all tough questions but must be answered before a practice can even be started. What is the point in starting a practice around something you’re going to hate doing anyways? You may love the idea of something right now but when the hard times come are you going to be able to take the hits and ask for more?
It is time for some self-reflection. Take the time to listen to what it is you can do for the world that you yourself love to do. Once you have figured out your purpose it is time to start molding it into something beautiful. This process is never ending. There is no perfect but the simple act of practice should be satisfying enough. The work itself should be enough. The fruits of your work are just a bonus.
Become a Warrior
As stated previously it is important to get used to the shitty times that are going to happen. Nothing is ever just sunshine and rainbows 100% of the time. You are going to face hardships on your journey and you must be willing to fight through them in order to continue the practice itself. If you allow one small thing to upset your progress entirely then the calling you have decided upon is probably not your real calling. Start over.
Being willing to face your enemies every single day is what is going to make the difference between a successful practice and a practice that is just a hobby. Just like the warrior, your practice is for life. If you are focused on doing this thing for the entirety of your life it must not be a hobby. It has to be something that goes deep into your soul. You must live for this thing. That much conviction will help you face the hardships that are inevitably going to come along.
Drop the ego
It is also important to not allow your ego to enter into your practice. The ego is not allowed in the practice. It will drive your decision making into a place that will taint the space in which you practice as well as the work that is the result. Be humble, work hard, and appreciate others work that may be in the same realm as yours.
The ego only serves one person and it is you, if you aim is to serve other people than the ego needs to be dropped like a bad habit. It needs to have happened yesterday!
Be willing to learn
Become a student of your craft; learn from those who have come before you in the same arena. Be willing to accept new ideas as well as old ideas. If you are closed minded to your own agenda you will be missing an important aspect to your practice. It is simple, there are many others out in the real world that are trying to accomplish the same thing you are. Why not work in concert as opposed to conflict.
Everyone has a unique view on the world and that view could very well be something you can add to your current practice to enhance it.
Learning is an action that is not used anywhere as much as it should be. Take advantage of that fact. Be a sponge. Read, write, listen, and watch it does not matter. Carve out time in your schedule to learn new things. I am telling you not enough people are doing that simple thing these days. Use it to bring your practice that much more value.
Once you have addressed the issues that may hinder your practice from a personal level we can get to what we need on a more material level to being out practice.
Now every single practice will be different in terms of equipment and set up but there are three aspects to a practice that are universal. Space, time, and intent
Find your environment
No matter what your practice, will be you need to have a space in order to accomplish the tasks that need to be completed. This is a place that should be sacred to you and your work. This is a place where no bullshit is allowed. The phone goes off. The mind stays focused and outside forces stay where they should be outside.
It does not matter where the environment is but it does matter that the space is consistent. It should be a temple. The place you go when you need to work. When you are doing the thing you love. If you’re a personal trainer then it could be your gym. This could be where you smooth out the kinks in your programming or where you teach yourself new skills that you can intern teach your clients. If you are a writer then that could be your desk.
If you are a martial artist then this would more than likely be your dojo. It does not matter what it is you are trying to do or what need your practice is going to be serving. What matters is that you have a place that is for the work. That place needs to be treated as sacred. I do not care if you are religious or not. This place is your area of work. No distractions and no nonsense!
Find your time
Practicing should be a ritual. It should take place in the same environment and during the same time consistently. Finding the right time for your practice is an intensely personal thing. You should have the time stated every day when you’re going to start practice and never miss it.
It needs to be something that is done every single day. With constant practice and consistent practice comes progress. With your newly acquired character skills, it is should be exciting to start your day
Inspiration can be created it does not need to pop up out of anywhere to gives you permission to work. No, you go create your inspiration in your space at the same time every day.
Building a strong practice takes time. It required a constant build-up of momentum that only comes from consistency. Every single day needs to be the same in order to build up that momentum. Once you start getting the traction it is ever more important that the ball keeps rolling cause as it gains energy the faster it will go. So find the time that works best for you and stick to it. Make a commitment to it!
Why have you started this practice? Did you start it to accomplish something personal, something for a greater good? Whatever it is, whatever your purpose is it must be done with 110% effort. The Australians have a saying “we’re not here to f@ck spiders” Meaning that they aren’t there to mess around. They have a job to do and they do it.
That is how you need to approach your practice. The intent behind your work needs to be that of intensity. You’re not there to post on Instagram, be liked on facebook or post some funny snap chat. You are there to get work done, plain and simple.
I realize we live in an extremely digital world and if your practice involves social media then by all means do not pay attention to my previous sentence but do pay attention to the fact that if your practice is social media the intent behind that work remains the same.
If you want to master your craft it is going to take effort, you realize this. (at least I hope you do ) And that effort needs to be concentrated, focused.
Slow down and don’t rush
This process is not something that is going to happen overnight. It is going to take a very long time to nail down all the aspects and it may not all come together at all. That is finding constant movement toward that end that matters most.
If you have found your true calling than it does not matter if you miss the mark once and while. You know where you need to be and where you want to be and are committed to that goal. You can relish in the fact that you have found what you want to do and in fact “need” to do for the rest of your life to be happy. Many still live false lives.
If you take the steps toward your goal daily and be consistent with it and I am positive you will create a practice that will be more successful than you ever thought possible.