Last Wednesday I arrived in Berlin after having been 9 months abroad. I felt good and ready to enter my productivity phase and make money. It was hard to admit but I struggled to actually start and apply my plan. A form of jet lag and my mind still being in the mood of traveling.
Finding a rhythm
It was hard to explain my body, mind and soul that I wouldn’t travel for a while a now. It felt like a form of jet lag although I took the bus going to Berlin (Granada – Madrid – Barcelona – Paris – Berlin within 3.5 days spending 40 hours in the bus). Don’t underestimate a bus jet lag especially when you don’t apply deep sleep in those seats. I intentionally arrived on Wednesday July 13, two days before my mother’s birthday.
However, it took me about 5 days (until Sunday) that I kind of felt I got back into the rhythm. Normally it took me a week to adjust when I returned from my several months of having been abroad.
Starting a routine
Long story short: Today, after 9 days being settled and sleeping in the same place, I ran 11 rounds (4.4 km) and kicked a soccer ball. Running is usually my warm-up preparation — it’s essential in my opinion to get those muscles going.
Kicking the soccer ball is a légère way of saying that I practice deliberately kicking the soccer ball into the 2,50 meters high basket of a basketball court — from 20 meters distance.
It’s not special. I did practice it in the past: Last July and August 2015 I had practiced 4 weeks to make the ball fly into the basket. Always the same ball. Always the same distance. Always the same goal. I kicked every 2-3 days, sometimes every day — for 4 weeks.
Continuing what works
On August 11, 2015 when I had practiced those 4 weeks I was successful. I kicked the ball into the basket after I had a light run of 4.8 km within 30 minutes. It was a blast! It was so great. It was not my first time that I managed to do it. Many years and months before I succeeded doing it 2-3 times but with huge time gaps in between those successful shots-into-the-basket. I didn’t practice deliberately, just when I felt like doing it.
On August 19, 2015 I made it a second time! Within only few days I repeated my success! Dog, was I happy!!!
The real benefit of deliberate practice
Today, two hours ago in the morning and one year after I succeed twice, I did it again! I had no 4 weeks of practice. I only ran 4.4 km before to warm up and then shot approx. 12 times before I put the ball onto the pitch, concentrated on success, focused and shot with my right foot. BOOM! IN!
This is important because it shows that once you did deliberate practice (practicing or exercising with intentional goal-setting) you set the stage for future success. In fact, like my real-life example shows, you increase the speed of success. You were successful in the past. You practiced success. With this practice and this knowledge of success you created a shortcut to be successful faster with a smaller amount of effort!
You systematically and intentionally practiced. I systematically and intentionally practiced. That’s why I was successful today — without many days and weeks of practice, only a few shots and the essential running before.
Wanting more: Growing your aspirations
I’m very proud of me and I like seeing this result. Having had this personal success, my aspiration for my next training sessions that includes running at least 10 rounds / 4 km and kicking the ball into the basket, grew! My goal is now to kick the ball into the basket in every session at least once! A session usually lasts 1h to 1h30m while running and a bit of walking to my sports ground normally take about 30-50 minutes, and kicking 30-40 minutes.
I encourage you to practice in a deliberate way whether it’s sports, your art, mathematics, archeology, astronomy, writing, painting, singing, dancing, or whatever your passion you’re doing on the side (after or before your day job) or full-time with your business.
The take-away from today: I’m stoked — still! It’s unbelievable for me that I kicked this ball the third time into the basket just with a bit of running and kicking before.
However, I want to move on and become better. This is my momentum, my wave. I wanna ride the wave. If you have the stamina and a real lust for this thing you’re deliberately practicing there’s no way you’re not going to be successful — success according to your standards. My success is different from yours.
So, practice, practice, practice. Never practice dumb. Always set a goal for a training session and then act upon it. Practicing in a deliberate manner will make your future sessions more successful in a shorter amount of time. It feels like cheating though in fact it’s not. It’s just you applying your skills, knowledge, abilities and capabilities to a single, mono-focused task or practice.
The miracle you created was because you knew what you were aiming at. You knew your goal and in 99,9% of the time you had no doubt about reaching it. Call yourself a magician. That’s fair enough. If you need only a dozen attempts to kick a ball into a 20 meters far basket that is 2,50 meters above the ground, you’re a magician.
People don’t know how much you practiced before. They don’t see the hard work, the patience, the endurance and continuity. In fact, they don’t care how many weeks, months or years you practiced before. They care about what you’re executing now. And now I kicked the ball a 3rd time into the basket within the timeframe of 1 year. I can do better. I’ll report back. What’s your goal? What are you deliberately practicing and enjoying practicing?
Also published on Medium.