How to Get Better at Anything

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“I want to ski race,” I blurted out suddenly. My parents looked at one another, then at me. The problem did not rest on my ability to ski, but with my age.  By 8th grade most kids were cresting prime racing form, and I would be just starting.  Typical of my parents, a yes flew off their lips that day and a week later I flew through my first gate.

Like a baby birthed from the warm womb into a cold hospital room, the transition was brutal.  Forget the skiing, the stretch pants were public enemy #1 and the first item ditched. Then the real education began.  Along with learning how to carve a GS turn, I discovered the language and behavior of the racing culture.  Weekend after weekend I would show up, work diligently, and fall again and again…HARD.

The other racers paid no attention to me.  I was the new girl who didn’t yet know how to race.  But I paid fierce attention to them.  I mimicked their technique and studied their form.

A few months after I’d begun racing, I went on the ski bus with my school.  One of my long time ski buddies, a racer himself, stared speechless as I ripped by him down the hill.  Breathlessly catching up he said, “that ski racing is the best thing you ever did.”

I was just as surprised as he was.  There was no indication I was getting better when I skied with that group of elite racers.  They were so much faster, immensely more skilled. But I had improved…tremendously…and it showed both that day and when I competed in my first race a couple of weeks later.  Unknowingly, I had transformed into a ski racer.

What I learned from that experience is this: if you want to get better at something, surround yourself with the experts.  Do what they do. Mimic their actions. Study their methods.  Learn their language.  This is one way change is created.

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Our insecurities often lead us to do the exact opposite.  Because we feel inadequate, we avoid the gold medalists.  Better to find those who never entertained the Olympics in that event.

Any training program knows this is not the way to success.  My husband was once a medical resident.  He was privileged to study under some of the best in his field.  For five years they watched and corrected his every move.  More and more freedom was given with every skill mastered.  Today my husband is a skilled physician.  But he is only that way because of the five years he spent learning the ways of the masters.

You may find yourself today in need of the same apprenticeship.

Do you want to improve in a skill?

Are you in a marriage crisis?  The engrained patterns and issues seem insurmountable.  Foreboding hopelessness can overwhelmingly permeate.

{Find a couple who has a thriving marriage}

Do you feel like you are drowning in parenting?  What was once intuitive now doesn’t make any sense. {Find parents who have raised their children well}

Or maybe it is a pattern of unhealthy female friendships.  Do life-giving, encouraging, supportive relationships exist among women? {Find a woman who has healthy relationships}

What about a church? Is there a pastor and body of believers that actually live out what they say they believe? {Find a pastor and church that is not perfect, but is striving to live out their convictions}

The cure to these ailments is not quick and it certainly is not easy.  But we can start by finding someone who can be our mentor…someone who is further along on the road in which travel.

 

Let’s surround ourselves with the experts and watch their every move. Then let’s ACT and change our lives.

 

Have you ever had the experience of “learning from the masters?”

 

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