Nuggets: Repetition is the mother…

repetitionWrite this down…

“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

“Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

If you want to get good at something, according to author Malcolm Gladwell, you have to do it for 10,000 hours. I’d say Malcolm was underestimating. I’d push it a little further and say you have to do it a million times.

My first career was as a professional ballet dancer. Every day starts of with exactly the same half dozen exercises. You plie (knee bends), you tendu (point your foot), you releve (rise up on the balls of your feet), etc. You do this same frickin’ thing at the beginning of every class, every day of every week of every year for as long as you can stand on two legs.

I’ve had the opportunity to be on stage with and/or dance with some of the greatest Canadian ballet dancers, including stars like Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn, Veronica Tennant, Nadia Potts, and Rex Harrington.

At one point, I was a stand-in for Evelyn Hart and her partner for an Imax film. Evelyn Hart, if you are not familiar with ballet, is one of Canada’s greatest ballerinas ever and a one-time dance partner to the great Mikhail Baryshnikov when he defected from Russia. She has a reputation for obsessiveness and pursuit of perfection.

The director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet did a private class for Evelyn, myself and my partner Gillian daily during the film shoot. What surprised me in taking that class with Evelyn was the simplicity of every exercise. I expected that we would be doing a very technical class, but everything was pared down to its pure essentials. The plie and tendu exercises we did would have been the same exercises a ten year old would do in a beginner class.

And this repeated focus on essentials – on getting to know every molecule of movement – is what allowed Evelyn to be known as one of the world’s greatest dancers.

Fast forward many years to the point were I was a massage therapist with clinics, a successful on-site massage company and a massage school. I read every book imaginable on writing sales copy… and re-read them, and re-read them obsessively. I would write tons of sales material and I thought I was pretty good at it. Until, that is, I read yet another book. And finally the light bulb went off! I changed my writing style and the sales conversions for my school went up about 60% overnight.

So what does this mean to you? What’s my point? My point in all this is that most therapists think they know it. They’ve got it all dialed in.

They finish their schooling and think they are proficient. They read something once and they think they understand it. They do a weekend workshop and think they’ve developed expertise. They complain about workshops saying that they’ve heard it all before.

But the reality is that 99% of those therapists have not developed anything close to mastery and chances are that most of them probably don’t get it at all.

The ones that get it are the ones that are dedicated to lifelong learning. They go to conferences year after year. They attend workshops regularly (and on the exact same subject), even if they don’t need CE credits. I know it’s hard to believe! They find a mentor and they will absorb everything that expert has in any format: Books, videos, online materials, workshops, etc. and they review those materials over and over and over again.

The therapists who immerse themselves fully, regularly and even obsessively in the areas in which they want to become skillful are the ones who will develop true mastery.

“An amateur practices until he gets it right; a professional practices until he can’t get it wrong.”

Which type of person are you?